Estremoz is a Portuguese city of 14,000 people (2011) in the Alto Alentejo region, often known as one of the 'three marble towns' in Alentejo.
Together with the two other marble towns, Borba and Vila Viçosa, Estremoz (sh-tr(ih)-MOHSH, /ʃ.tɾɨ.ˈmoʃ/) is internationally known for its fine to medium marble that occurs in several colours: white, cream, pink, grey or black and streaks with any combination of these colours. Especially the pink marble (Rosa Aurora and Estremoz Pink) is in high demand.
This marble has been used since antiquity as a material for sculpture and architecture. The first exports in Roman times were probably for the construction of the Circus Maximus of Emerita Augusta, in modern-day Spain. The Portuguese navigators exported this marble to Africa, India and Brazil. The marble from this region was used in famed locations such as the Monastery of Jerónimos, the Monastery of Batalha, the Monastery of Alcobaça and the Tower of Belém.
There is so much marble around Estremoz that it is used everywhere; even the doorsteps, pavements and the cobble stones are made out of marble. This marble is even converted into whitewash for painting the houses.
- 1 Posto de Turismo (Casa de Estremoz), Rossio Marquês de Pombal. Daily 09:30–12:30 & 14:00–17:30, closed major holidays.
- 1 Terminal Rodoviário de Estremoz (Bus Station), Avenida Rainha Santa Isabel, ☏ . Intercity bus service is provided by Rodoviária do Alentejo and Rede Expressos. Service is frequent to Évora and Elvas but also to Lisboa.
The top of the town with the castle, pousada and a museum, all constructed from marble, is very striking but it's also interesting to find pavements and staircases at very modest houses built from the same material.
- 1 Castle of Estremoz. Dating from the 12th century, the castle has undergone several improvements over time, but especially during this period due to its close location with the kingdom of Spain. Constituting one of the most important strongholds in the Alentejo region, Estremoz is linked to several of the most decisive military episodes in the history of Portugal. Much of the facility was destroyed in an explosion in 1698. The tower of the three crowns, a former audience room, now a museum for modern design and a colonnade have been preserved. The former royal palace is now an extremely stylish pousada.
- A Manueline style pillory.
- 2 Cloister of the Igreja de Misericórdia, Rossio Marquês de Pombal (west of the castle). M 09:00-12:30, 14:00-20:00; Tu-F 09:00-20:00; Sa Su 10:00-20:00. The church belonged to a monastery of the Maltese. The cloister of the convent is open for public visits.
- Convento São Francisco. From the 13th century.
There's a big Saturday market on the large and unmissable Rossio carpark like a hybrid somewhere between a car boot sale, a flea market and a farmers' produce market. In particular there are about five adjacent stalls all selling delicious ewe and goat milk cheeses.
- 1 A Cadeia Quinhentista, Rua Rainha Santa Isabel, Castelo, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:00–00:00. This restaurant is in a 1500s jail. The rooftop terrace offers views of the city and the countryside. Splurge.
- 1 Pousada Castelo Estremoz, Largo de D. Diniz, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. The castle of Estremoz is the result of the restoration of the magnificent Palace that King D. Diniz built for his wife, Queen Isabel, the Saint.