Alvaiázere is a municipality in the central region of Portugal, belonging to the district of Leiria. The centre of the municipality consists of a small village with urban characteristics. The predominant landscape surrounding the territory is rural and agricultural.
The name of this village comes etymologically from the Arabic language. The historical development of Alvaiázere is largely related to the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711. After this occupation, the territory was named Al-Bai-Zir, Alva-Varze or Al-Baiz, meaning “lands of the falconer”.
During the period of the Christian Reconquest this area was repopulated, acquiring a charter in 1200. It acquired the status of town in the Middle Ages.
What to see and do in Alvaiázere
Antas do Ramalhal
The municipality of Alvaiázere, due to its geomorphological characteristics, invited several peoples to settle in its territory since ancient times, so that it keeps memories and traces of various and successive occupations ranging from the Paleolithic to the present day.
Among the many archaeological sites are the megalithic complex of Ramalhal, the Bronze Age settlement in the Serra de Alvaiázere.
Rural life determines the existence of a significant set of industrial archaeological structures that testify to the action of this people, such as oil presses, water mills, windmills and lime kilns.
Nossa Senhora de Covões Chapel
It is a small white temple built in the 18th century in the Alvaiázere mountain range. The local architecture shows the local history and experiences through the countless examples of popular architecture, manor houses and stately estates that are spread throughout the seven parishes of the municipality. The alminhas, the picotas, the crosses, the chapels and the different mother churches, in turn, give shape to the spaces in which, since ancient times, legends and traditions have circulated, reflecting the religious spirit of this people.
Although the authenticity of the typical dishes is lost in time, in this land there is knowledge and flavors that still stand out for their typical character. Alvaiázere is known in Portugal for being the Capital of the Pea, a legume that has been cultivated since ancient times in its two variants, as a fodder plant or as an edible vegetable. Peas are used to prepare all kinds of dishes, in puree, or as an accompaniment to meat, sausages, fish, in particular roast petinga and cod. But without a doubt, the best way to enjoy them is with olive oil, cabbage and bread, giving them all their traditional flavour.
This museum preserves and disseminates the history of these lands, through permanent exhibitions such as “Time, Space and Memory” and archaeological exhibits from the Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages.