This pleasant working-class city, a flattish fortified town, has an ageing castle, graceful buildings and a well-preserved Moorish quarter. Well placed near water sources and rich in ore, Moura has been a farming and mining centre and a fashionable spa in previous incarnations. More recent developments? The world’s largest solar-power generation plant is nearby and it’s the nearest large town to the Barragem do Alqueva, 15km to the north.
The Moors’ 500-year occupation came to an end in 1232 after a Christian invasion. Despite the reconquest, Moorish presence in the city remained strong – they only abandoned their quarter in 1496 (after Dom Manuel’s convert-or-leave edict).
The town’s name comes from a legend related to the 13th-century takeover. Moorish resident Moura Salúquiyya opened the town gates to Christians disguised as Muslims. They sacked the town, and poor Moura flung herself from a tower.