Castro da Cola

Fortified Settlement - Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman Period, Medieval Islamic Period, Middle Ages e Late Antiquity (158)
The Castro da Cola is part of a large archaeological complex, composed of several megalithic monuments [Nora Velha 1 (CNS - 3894), Fernão Vaz 1 (CNS - 10731) and 2 (CNS - 10730)], the Chalcolithic settlement of Cortadouro (CNS - 1652), Bronze and Iron Age necropolises [Nora Velha 2 (CNS - 7593), Atalaia (CNS - 1635), Pêgo da Sobreira (CNS 1018), Alcaria 2 (CNS 11547), Casarão (CNS 10729)] and the Iron Age settlements of Porto Lajes (CNS - 4077) and Fernão Vaz (CNS 3153). This site is located atop of an imposing shale hill, 200m of altitude, located next to the Marchicão Brook, near the Mira River, about 6km south west of the Village of Palheiros and 12km away from Ourique. This position granted the Castro with a good visual domain over the landscape and guaranteed good natural defence conditions. The associated materials regarding the first occupation of the Castro da Cola (Bronze Age) are scarce (traces of vitrified stone material in the western area). In the Iron Age, this would be a high altitude settlement eventually fortified, that would play a prominent role in structuring the settlement of the Ourique area (from this stage, straight walls and a diversified set of materials are identified). During the Medieval Islamic period (10th -13th century), Castro da Cola was a town enclosed by an irregular polygonal shaped fortification, composed of several stone walls, about 2.4m thick and 5 to 6m tall, reinforced by several squared shape towers. The original gate was located to the north, defended by a larger tower and thicker walls. This defensive device was reinforced by walled fences, which were deployed in the neighbouring hills. Inside, a military area was identified, composed by a central courtyard, stables and casemates, among others. Rectangular and squared shaped houses were recorded in the housing area, having a central courtyard, a cistern excavated in the rock with a semi-cylindrical dome and a square nozzle (measures: 3.79 x 2.70 x 2.20), several functional areas (warehouses, ovens, workshops) and traces of streets. During the reign of Afonso III (13th century), the interior walls and structures underwent several renovations, building the partition wall of the Castro and several silos in its vicinity. The abandonment of the Castro da Cola happened during the 14th century, in an unclear way.


The site can be visited and is integrated in the "Circuito Arqueológico da Cola", with information available at the Castro da Cola Reception Center and Ourique Tourist Office.

Visit conditions

Free entrance associated with a museological structure


Opening Hours: Centro de Acolhimento do Castro da Cola - May 1st to September 15th 09.30-12.30 15.00-18.30 - September 16th to April 30th 09.30-12.30 14.00-17.30 Closed: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, January 1st, Easter (Sunday) and December 25th.



    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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