Monsanto (Idanha-a-Nova)

Monsanto is a village in the civil parish of Monsanto e Idanha-a-Velha, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, District of Castelo Branco, Portugal. In 2011, it covered an area of 131.76 km² and had 828 inhabitants (June 30, 2011). Monsanto would become popularly known as "the most Portuguese village of Portugal" due to a government-sponsored competition that awarded twelve historic villages the distinction of Most Portuguese Village of their own province in 1938.

 The Clock Tower or Lucano Tower with its Silver Rooster which was the trophy for winning the title of Portugal's Most Portuguese Village in 1938.

It was the main town of the concelho between 1174 and the beginning of the 19th century, and the county seat in the period of 1758-1853. The mountain Monsanto (Latin: Mons Sanctus) rises abruptly to the East of the Idanha-a-Nova up to 758 meters above sea level. The earliest traces of man is from the Early Stone Age, dating back to the ice ages. Later, Romans settled at the base of the mountain. Traces from Visigothic in the early Middle Ages and even earlier Arab presence have been found in the area. In the 12th century, King Afonso I of Portugal conquered Monsanto from the Moors as part of the Christian Reconquista. In 1165, he granted the custody of the city to a knights' order of the church, first to the Order of the Knights Templar, and later to the Order of Santiago. The city was given to the military orders to maintain the reconquered city within Christian hands. The Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar, Gualdim Pais, was manager of the building of the fortress. Later, King Sancho I of Portugal reconstructed and repopulated it after the wars with the Leonese. Unfortunately, the medieval castle was destroyed in the nineteenth century because of an explosion in the ammunition depot of the castle. Monsanto would become popularly known as "the most Portuguese village of Portugal" due to a government-sponsored competition that awarded Monsanto this distinction in 1938. The title was awarded by the Portuguese Secretariat for Propaganda under the Estado Novo regime.[1] A symbol of Portugal, the Silver Rooster (Galo de Prata), designed by Abel Pereira da Silva, was the coveted trophy in this competition and can be seen atop the Clock Tower or Lucano Tower of Monsanto. In 2013, the parish evolved into the new parish Monsanto e Idanha-a-Velha.[2]

^ Pedro Félix, Capítulo 9. O concurso “A Aldeia Mais Portuguesa de Portugal” (1938) ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 58-59" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 23 July 2014.
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