Inhabitants of the Oeste region exhibit a fascinating genetic mix of northern peoples (especially Celts), Phoenicians from the south, and above all Romans and Arabs. Intermingling of these cultures has forged an open outlook and a strong spirit of hospitality – one of the region’s hallmark characteristics and a source of great pride.
Key heritage sites include archaeological stations (ranging from prehistoric grottoes and Copper Age forts, to Roman cities and settlements), Arab castles, Roman bridges and aqueducts, churches, 16th century fortresses, and 17th and 18th century manor houses, perched atop hills, observing the passage of time in this ever-changing region. The Monastery of Alcobaça (12th century) – a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Convent of Santa Maria de Cós – are excellent reasons for an extended stay. The Region’s principal monuments include the Copper Age fort in Zambujal (Torres Vedras), the Roman archaeological stations in Óbidos, Arab castles in Torres Vedras and Óbidos, the Convents of S. Francisco (Alenquer), Varatojo and Graça (Torres Vedras), the magnificent Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, the church of S. Quintino (Sobral de Monte Agraço), the church of Our Lady of Salvation (Arruda dos Vinhos), the Royal Ice Factory in Montejunto (Cadaval), the historic centres of Alcobaça, Óbidos, Alenquer, Torres Vedras and Caldas da Rainha. These sites guard an important part of the region’s history and offer us a glimpse of the secrets of local popular culture.