Ponte de Lima is a Portuguese village located in the northern region of Portugal, belonging to the district of Viana do Castelo. This historic town received its charter in the early twelfth century, so it is considered the oldest town in Portugal.
The growth of this town is closely linked to the development of the peninsular kingdoms during the Middle Ages. In fact, it will be part of the territory granted by King Alfonso VI of León, to his daughter Teresa de León, mother of the first king of Portugal.
what to see and do in ponte de lima
Bridge over the Lima River
In Ponte de Limathere is a legend about the bridge that gives its name to the village. It is said that during the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the Romans arrived at this river and were paralysed when they realised that it was the river Lethes or “river of oblivion”. The legend said that anyone who crossed the waters would be enchanted by its beauty, forgetting everything about his previous life. Although the commanders gave orders to advance, the soldiers remained paralyzed, no one wanted to cross it for fear of forgetting everything.
It was then that Decimus Junius Brutus rode his horse across the river to show the soldiers that nothing was wrong. Once he reached the other side of the river, he began calling his soldiers by name, one by one, effectively proving that he had not forgotten and that it was okay to cross the river. The river was not the Lethes, so there was nothing to worry about.
In honour of this legend, on one side of the river we can see a statue of Decimus Junius Brutus calling his soldiers, who are on the other bank.
Tower of San Paulo
Together with the Caideia Velha Tower, it stands as the only surviving medieval remains of the ancient wall of the centre of Ponte de Lima. It is a square tower characteristic of Romanesque civil architecture.
Pazo do Marqués
This magnificent building, dating from the 15th century, is located in the historic centre of Ponte de Lima. With elements of Manueline flavour, the building now houses the local Tourist Office.
Diogo Bernardes Theatre
It is the venue of the Ponte de Lima Opera and Classical Music Festival, one of the most interesting cultural events in the town. It was built in the 19th century, under the neoclassical architectural standards prevailing at the time. It underwent renovations at the beginning of the 21st century.