Trancoso, Bodas Reais

Historical festival in Trancoso - Royal Wedding
Festa da História - Bodas Reais
23,24.06.2018 (to be confirmed)
Trancoso (Centro region)

a weekend back in the Middle Ages to relive the atmosphere of the period through an immersive five sense experience right where the glorious Portuguese knights wrote down one of the most glorious moments in Portugal’s history…

Geographical, cultural and historical context

Trancoso, located on an 870 m. high plateau over the Beira Mountains in the District of Guarda, in Region Centro of Portugal, was one of the most important towns in Portugal during the Middle Ages due to its strategic position as a key fortress of the defensive line along the border with Spain. Trancoso is well-known today as the place where the 16th century poet and shoemaker António Gonçalves de Bandarra or Gonçalo Annes Bandarra (1500-1556 AD) lived and wrote his prophetic texts. Trancoso still maintains the solemnity and atmosphere of its medieval outline thanks to the narrow streets, granite stone houses and the majestic castle with its walls and the 15 towers overlooking the historic centre. The local rich heritage includes the Church of São Pedro as well, the eternal resting-place of poet Bandarra, the Jewish district and the Isaac Cardoso Jewish Interpretation Centre, the General Beresford’s military headquarters dating to the Napoleonic Age, and the ruins of the Chapel of São Marcos about 2 km from the downtown.

The first official mention of the town dates to the year 960 AD. Over the following decades Trancoso was highly disputed between the Christian and Muslim armies until in year 1160 AD it was finally freed by King Afonso Henriques (1106/9 or 1109/11-1185 AD, nicknamed "the Conqueror" or "the Great"), who became the first King of Portugal and regarded as a hero of the Portuguese Reconquista against the Moors. The town flourished experiencing a time of great commercial and population development, receiving also important privileges by the Portuguese kings over time: already King Afonso Henriques granted it a municipal charter, while King Afonso III (1210-1279 AD) a fair charter, and finally King Denis (1261-1325 AD, also known as the Farmer King and the Poet King) commissioned the enlargement of the town boundaries.

A key event of the local history is the Battle of Trancoso, which was fought on May 29, 1385 AD, between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile, and resulted in a heavy defeat of a mighty Castilian army at the hands of the troops led by Gonçalo Vasques Coutinho, city administrator of Trancoso. The Battle took place during the so-called 1383-1385 Portuguese crisis or interregnum, a period of political anarchy of the Portuguese history, when no monarch ruled the country, and he noble armies of Portugal, supported by Kingdom of England, and the Crown of Castile, supported by the Kingdom of France and the Crown of Aragon, contended for the vacant Portuguese throne. Today the only visible marks of the event are the ruins of the medieval chapel of São Marcos that King Juan of Castile (1358-1390 AD) burned out of revenge for his defeat during another invasion of Portugal.

During the Napoleonic Era, in 1809, Trancoso was chosen as general headquarter by William Carr Beresford (1768-1854 AD, an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician), who fought in Portugal against the Napoleonic army in the Iberian Peninsula as general in the British Army and Marshal in the Portuguese Army.

Event description and programme

In May Trancoso is home to a spectacular historical festival featuring about 300 participants and attracting many visitors from all over the country and abroad, with the aim to bring back to life its medieval past and traditions. Special setting throughout the downtown and in the castle are devoted to crafts markets and workshops, military camps and living history displays, old taverns and inns, battle demonstrations, street theatre performances, music and dance shows. The great historical parade, involving nobles, beggars, warriors, merchants, princes and princesses, and many other historical characters of the period, is dedicated to commemorating the royal wedding of King Denis of Portugal (1261-1325 AD) and the infant Elizabeth of Aragon (1271-1336 AD), who would later become Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. The festivities are interrupted by the sudden intrusion of the Spanish, skirmishes erupt until the local garrison manages to expel the invaders from the castle. A great tournament between the Castilian and Portuguese knights follows, putting an end to the confrontation. The celebration goes on with a sumptuous medieval banquet, enhanced with music and dances and followed by fireworks.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Trancoso Town Council / Município de Trancoso
Address: Praça Município, 6420-107 Trancoso, Portugal
Tel.: +351 271 829 120 | Fax: +351 271 812 189

Turismo de Portugal Center of Portugal / TCP/ARPT Centro de Portugal
Address: Casa Amarela, Largo de Sta Cristina, 3500-181 Viseu, Portugal
Tel.: +351 232 432 032

Visit Portugal Turismo de Portugal, the national tourist board
Address: Rua Ivone Silva, Lote 6, 1050-124 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel.: +351 211 140 200

Aldeias Históricas de Portugal - Associação de Desenvolvimento Turístico
Address: Rua Pedro Álvares Cabral, 52, 6250-086 Belmonte, Portugal
Tel.: +351 275 913 395 | Fax: +351 275 913 396

Image: Trancoso Eventos
Text sources: Trancoso Eventos, Trancoso Town Council, Wikipedia, Visit Portugal Turismo de Portugal, Turismo de Portugal Center of Portugal, Aldeias Históricas de Portugal


Trancoso and its castle on Google Maps:



Promos and video reportages of the event:





Visitng Trancoso:





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