February 16, 2008
Beja, an historical town in the southern province of Alentejo. Situated in a plain circumscribed by ancient land, fluvial and maritime routes, the town of Beja lies almost halfway between Lisbon and Sevilla, two major historical harbours of the SW Iberian peninsula on two major rivers, Tagus and Guadalquivir.
Close to Beja, a smaller river, Guadiana, traces an historical southern border between Portugal and Spain and shelters a very ancient fluvial harbour, Mértola, active in Antiquity and during medieval times. Residual wooden sailing boats could still be seen in Mertola in mid-20th century (picture: reproduced and adapted from Leonel Borrela, Mértola I-Pequenas Histórias. Diário do Alentejo (Beja), June 9th, 2006).