Welcome to Loures, a charming city located in the heart of Portugal’s District and Metropolitan area of Lisbon. With a total population of over 200,000, Loures is the fifth most populous municipality in the country. The city boasts a rich history dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period, with evidence of early human settlements found in the Cave of Pego do Diabo and the Cave of Salemas. Visitors can explore the region’s Neolithic burial chambers such as the Anta de Carcavelos and the Anta do Alto da Toupeira. Loures was also a Roman settlement during the 1st millennium, and several castros can be found throughout the region which were inhabited before the Roman occupation. After the Romans, Loures was occupied by the Visigoths before the Moors arrived in the 8th century.
The parish of Loures was first mentioned in 1118 and was a mainly agricultural region involved in small export trade. The cultivation of lettuce, a vegetable still cultivated in the region, was a major economic activity. In 1170, Afonso Henriques provided privileges and benefits to the Moors living on the outskirts of Lisbon in the sallayos. In 1178, King Sancho I discovered that the Moors of Lisbon were allied to groups in Loures. He came to the territory with a Templar force to confront those peoples, and after the defeat of the Moors, he transferred the region to the Knights Templar, who established the sect of warrior-monks. The extinction of Templars in 1311 opened the way for the expropriation of lands and property by the Pope. King Denis of Portugal proposed the creation in Portugal of a new Order to replace the Templars that would be the recipient of these assets: the Order of Christ. In Loures, the Templar lands passed into the hands of this religious order, which eventually constructed a new church over the ruins of the 4th-century temple, located alongside the Christian cemetery that existed there.
Visitors can also explore the village of Montemor, situated at a height of 350 meters, which was sought by residents from Lisbon during the Plague. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Saúde was built during this era, and a myth developed for successive generations of the miraculous influence of the patron, providing protection from health-related disease. By the 19th century, between 1832 and 1834, cholera spread throughout the region, and the people of Loures, once again, implored Our Lady of Health to protect them from the epidemic. Owing to their fears, the image of the saint was removed from Montemor and paraded through Loures in procession. It remained in the altar of the Church of Loures until the threat had passed when it was finally returned to its hermitage in Montemor.
Loures is traditionally divided into three areas: the rustic one, to the north (the parishes of Lousa, Fanhões, Bucelas, Santo Antão do Tojal, and São Julião do Tojal), the urban one to the south (Frielas, Loures, and Santo António dos Cavaleiros) and the urban-industrial to the east (Apelação, Bobadela, Camarate, Moscavide, Portela de Sacavém, Prior Velho, Sacavém, Santa Iria de Azóia, São João da Talha, and Unhos). The city borders the municipalities of Odivelas, Sintra, Mafra, Arruda dos Vinhos, Vila Franca de Xira, and Lisbon. Portela de Sacavém is the site of Portugal’s largest airport.
Loures is also home to notable people, including Baltasar Barreira, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary to Africa, Félix de Avelar Brotero, a botanist and professor, and Cláudia Vieira and Rita Pereira, Portuguese actresses, models, and TV presenters. The city also has a rich sports culture, including Eduardo Luís, a retired Portuguese footballer with 277 club caps, António Alberto Bastos Pimparel, known as Beto, a footballer with over 400 club caps and 16 with Portugal, and Sónia Matias, a Portuguese former footballer with 55 caps with Portugal women.
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 10 civil parishes (freguesias), including Loures, Sacavém, Bucelas, Camarate, Moscavide, Santa Iria de Azóia, Santo António dos Cavaleiros, São João da Talha, and Bobadela. The city is twinned with Armamar, Portugal, Maio, Cape Verde, Matola, Mozambique, and Diu Island, India. Come and explore the rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering local cuisine of Loures, Portugal today!