Alvito is a village of 2.500 habitants. Inhabited since neolithic times. Alvito's architecture being of Manueline ,Portuguese Gothic,early Renaissance style and Mudejar (arab incluence)..
It was under Roman rule and was conquered by the Portuguee in 1234.
The inhabitants , mainly live from working on the very large estates around the area. The estates grow cork ,rear cattle and sheep and black pig..olive and some marble. Many of the land owners live in Lisbon and have their farm managers and workers to run their estates.
..Some people have their own little property living off subsistance farming.. also growing organic greens, and other produce with small live stock, and they live a simple happy life. Of course there are many of the men who work in Beja or Evora in the commercial sector.
Many youths have immigrated or gone to work in the City,thus our population are elderly. However, life in the villages goes on .
I myself like Alvito.. Its a clean very unique little village. My youngest son attended school there. Before attending the University of Evora, where he studied 7 years and has his masters degree in classical music.
I dont know about yourselves, but when one lives in a place , we pass by churches and monuments and little houses and big houses and beautiful gardens every day. It all becomes part of our daily routine. That's me!. I dont know how many times i have passed this little "ermida" of St. Sebastian and never been in. When i decided to go and pay a visit last year.. that was when they closed the chapel to ensure its safety for visitors.
"Ermida" is a little chapel built in a reclusive place away from the village.
Last year it was closed with fencing all around. I found out a while back, why the fencing was there.
There is a lady that looks after it, on behalf of the parish and its open every day.. If the lady is not there, one can go to the tourist office in Alvito and they will call the lady to open it, she might have just gone home for lunch.
The "Ermidas" were built and dedicated to saints who were considered protectors from the pest and other epidemics. Sao Sebastian Ermida, is Portuguese Gothic architecture.
I have always liked this little church and it is well maintained. People come from all over to visit it.
Since its now open to the puplic .. I will be making a visit there very soon. After all, its about 10 min away from me.
I now now why the church was cordened off..
And this is "WHY".....................Under the little chapel of Sao Sebastiao, are secret tunnels,grutas, caves and chambers leading into one another.
History and tales of these tunnels are told that they were built to connect the other family houses of the lords of the village .. The Lobos da Silveira family. They could come and go freely without the population knowing what the kings or Baron's were doing, or maybe a whispering gallery.!
We can imagine possibly , that when there was a plague or pest in the area..the nobility would also hide there.
How they used it in those days.. i can only imagine.. potions mixed with this and that. !