Church of Noudar and Dragged Milky Way
Included in the great Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve – ﬁrst site in the world to receive the “Starlight Tourism Destination” certiﬁcation – Noudar Natural Park is located in a farm estate called Herdade da Coitadinha spreads across 1000 hectare, ‘over-the-hills’ between the winding rivers Ardila and Múrtega and lodged among hills and summits near the town of Barrancos (Alentejo, Portugal) and in the border with Spain. The road from the Park’s entrance to the Noudar Castle goes through an extensive holm oak grove (‘montado’) area, ending with a majestic view over the water lines. In Noudar, life presents itself in a state of wilderness and absolute purity.
The Castle of Noudar and the church of Nossa Senhora do Desterro is located between the Múrtega and the Ardila rivers which ﬂow towards the West. Its construction was ﬁnished in 1307, during the reign of Don Dinis. The place was chosen because of its natural defenses, easy access and the closeness of a water spring of excellent quality – Fonte da Figueira, located roughly 250 meters to the East of the castle, under the hilltop known as Forca (“the Gallows”). Good and plentiful farming land and cattle grazing ﬁelds can also be found near the castle. This medieval fortress was very important for border defense against the kingdom of Castile during the early 14th Century.