Stage of several battles, the Fortress of Valença do Minho, designated as “jewel of world military architecture”, consists of three levels of defense extended over 5.5 km. This national and world monument currently presents an urban nucleus delimited by two distinct enclosures: the Magistral and the Coroada enclosures.
In the first Dynasty, D. Sancho I raised two main factors for the adoption of this one, as a style of permanent defensive construction: the vigil – a prominent focus – and the pilgrimage route, being this a place of constant passage for pilgrims and travelers from all over the Iberian Peninsula, towards the tomb of Santiago de Compostela.
The nucleus of this building, initially of a more urban nature, was the place where all the political and military power was based, as well as the most prominent buildings and services. Its social, cultural and economic functions changed progressively over the centuries, attenuating its direct relationship with the exclusive role of initial watchdog and defender.
It’s geostrategic location still remains privileged today, forming part of the strong galaico-minhota relationship, with the neighbouring city of Tui: the Eurocity. This partnership emerged with the benefits for both regions in mind, focusing on tourism and sharing of public spaces, thus proving to be a great example of cooperation in the Iberian Peninsula.
Currently, the Fortress is governed almost exclusively by tourism and local commerce, where it is seen as the largest open-air shopping centre in the region.