Vilar Torpim

The village of Vilar Torpim is located nine km to the Southwest of the municipality's seat, on the right bank of Avelar stream, a tributary of the Côa River. 

This village is very old dating back to the time of Ferdinand Magno, King of Léon, in 1039. Later, in 1176 it was donated by Ferdinand II of Léon to the monks of the Military Order of São Julião do Pereiro; then it went over to the Christ's Order when Portugal annexed the region by the treaty of Alcañizes. The term Torpim would stem from "Turpino", a French warrior bishop who, under the orders of the king of Léon, is said to have fought the Moors at this place. The word Vilar derives from the term "villae" which means farmhouse in the Roman Period. At the Barrocal area there are still to be found the remains of the ancient Roman causeway included in the Imperial road which connected Egitania to the city of Guarda.

In the 15th and 16th centuries it was an important trade route, having existed there an outstanding Customs. 

The first baron of Vilar Torpim, Francisco José Pereira, was born in Vilar Torpim on 28th September 1783. He was the son of Francisco José Pereira, an Infantry Major and his wife Vitória Ferreira Cardoso. On 15th January 1804 he married Maria José de Sá Pereira, born on 23rd June 1785, daughter of António Domingas de Sá, a Lieutenant Colonel, and Rosa Mariana de Andrade. During the Liberal Wars, it played a significant role, as it has been the headquarters of the general Count of Bonfim, who settled down in Casa do Fidalgo (The Nobleman's House).

"It is a splendid village, with houses of firm construction, where antiquity appears at every step. At a glance you will notice that the evidence of noble status is immense, mainly the serene and self-controlled nature of its inhabitants, a people who endured much pain. Nowadays full of elderly people, Vilar Torpim, reveals what is left of the bellicose people who lived there, used to fight the assailing hordes who, in times of enraged conflict, crossed Tourões stream destroying and plundering everything on their way. Before its decline, for a long time, it has been a stopping place for those who were on the road, mostly mule drivers and pilgrims, as it had good inns. In terms of monuments we highlight the Parish Church and the "Solar dos Saraivas" (Saraivas' Manor House), the olive press, the old bridge, and several fountains & chapels". It is to stand out the Parish Church, of medieval origin, with an only nave, whose main peculiarity is the Renaissance chapel it includes, where is located the granite tomb with lying statue of the noble Knight, D. António de Aguilar, the master of these lands and people. The other worship places, respectable for their magnificence, show the powerful faith of these people: the chapels of Santo António, Santo Antão and the martyr São Sebastião, the latter somewhat far from the village. On the paths which lead to the mentioned places, it is to be noticed the Roman fountain (near Santo António's chapel) and the fountains of Lagar & Carvalheiras, from where poured the water to quench one's thirst. It is also to be noticed the dark granite Calvary, raised upon a solid pedestal of five steps. Notable, majestic and rich is the "Solar dos Saraivas" or "Casa do Fidalgo" (The Nobleman's House), whose building dates from the 18th century and shows an impressive coat of arms over the main portico. This fine palace housed the families who dominated the people as they were the owners of the county's major riches. However, it is also said to have served as hospital during the Liberal Wars.

A walk through the surroundings of Vilar Torpim will make you come across some "alminhas", a precious evidence of these border lands of strong religious faith. The "alminhas" are granite crosses or niches carved on rock, which, upright, mark the places of some misfortune, or of special devotion. They indicate the coherent popular faith, the fear of God, as well as the superstitions and omens of those who had to go across solitary walks to earn a living.

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