The name “Óbidos” probably derives from the Latin term oppidum, meaning “citadel”, or “fortified city”. Roman occupation of the area was confirmed by archaeological excavations, revealing the existence of a Roman city civitas near the hilltop on which the village and castle were established. This Roman settlement is most certainly the mysterious Eburobrittium, cited by Pliny the Elder as situated between Olisipo (Lisbon) and Colipo (Leiria). Archeological surveys determined the remains of a forum, baths and other Roman structures near the settlement.
After the fall of Rome, came under the influence of the Visigoths, although specific records are missing. The Roman town of Eburobrittium was abandoned in the 5th century for the more secure hilltop where today the principal settlement located. Sometime after 713 the Moors established a fortification on this mountain, while a Christian community of Mozarabs lived in the Moncharro neighbourhood.
The area was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in 1148. Tradition states that one knight, Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, was responsible for the successful storming of the Moorish castle. The retaking of Óbidos was a final stage in the conquest of the Estremadura region, after the settlements of Santarém, Lisbon and Torres Vedras. Following the control of the region, the settlement received its first foral (English: charter) in 1195, during the reign of Sancho I. In 1210, King Afonso II gave the title of this village to Queen Urraca. Since then, Óbidos has often been patronized by the Queens of Portugal, giving rise to its informal title as Vila das Rainhas (English: town of the Queens); several royal consorts enriched the village with donations from the Middle Ages until the 16th century.
The castle and walls of Óbidos were remodelled during the reign of King Dinis I. The limestone and marble structure was strengthened and elaborated, while the keep was created in the 14th century, by King Fernando. By the time of the first remodelling project, the settlement had also grown beyond the gates of the castle.
The Church of Santa Maria in Óbidos was the setting for the wedding of King Afonso V to his cousin, Princess Isabella of Coimbra, on 15 August 1441, when they were both still children aged 9 and 10, respectively.
Óbidos enjoys a prime location and is located about 80 kilometers north of Lisbon.
How to get to Óbidos :
By car – Towards Lisboa – Leiria, take the A8 and leave the motorway at exit 15. Travel time takes about 40-50 minutes.
From Santarém take the A15 motorway.
From Porto, take the A1 to Leiria. In Leiria take the A8.
Bus – On average, a bus ticket ( Lisbon – Óbidos ) will be priced at € 8.00. See the following website for details and schedules: http://www.rodotejo.pt/pesquisa_servicos.php
Train – There is train that stops in Óbidos . However, the train station is not near the town center. For more information on pricing and schedules, please see: www.cp.pt.
Taxi – A taxi ride ( Lisbon – Óbidos ) may vary in terms of price. Normally, a trip will cost approximately € 90.00. Óbidos has a taxi rank next to the Town Gate (main entrance of Óbidos).
There are car parks clearly marked on the outside area of the Historic Center. Two of these parks are paid (asphalted parks near the Tourist Office). There is also an additional Auto- caravans (also paid) Park .
The Tourist Office of Óbidos is next to the main car park, about 200 meters from the entrance of the town.
The ARTECH 2015 will be held in 3 locations within the Óbidos walls:
- The Municipal Auditorium (5)
- The Pelourinho Galery (11)
- The Abílio de Mattos museum (15)