Rede de Judiarias de Portugal



The history of Fundão as a prominent urban center has been conditioned since the beginning by the New-Christians, already then influencial in the neighbouring counties of Belmonte and Covilhã. After the expulsion of the Spanish Jews in 1492 by the catholic kings Fernando and Isabel, a large number of refugees came to settle in Cova da Beira where there were already significant Jewish minorities.

It was these immigrants who, by founding new quarters (the most important of which was located around the Rua da Cale (Cale Street)), allowed Fundão to assume the dimensions of a real city. The influx of Jewish merchants and artisans would transform the city into an important center for trade and industry.

With the establishment of the Inquistion began the persecution of Jews and New Christians, with numerous expropriations, tortures and executions. Even today are frequent the New Christian names amongst the city’s inhabitants. Fundão lost at that time most of its economic dynamism. During about two centuries, more than 400 of its natives and residents were accused by the Tribunal do Santo Ofício (Inquisition Court), a rare number on Portuguese cities.

In 1580 the most important people from the city gave their support to D. António, Prior of Crato, against the claims of D. Filipe II, King of Spain (Filipe I of Portugal). In that year they unilaterally raised Fundão to town status. The county was founded in 1747 by order of D. João V, making it independent from Covilhã.

During the age of Enlightenment in the late eighteenth century, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom at that time, the Marquês de Pombal (Marquis of Pombal), after making the new Christians legally equal to the old Christians, sought to restore the economic preeminence of the city by founding the Real Fábrica de Lanifícios (Royal Textile Factory), where today is located the city hall. By that time the wool fabric from Fundão started being exported in large quantities again. In the 19th century Fundão was ransacked during the French Invasions, and suffered again during the Civil War between the Liberals (Pro-D.Pedro II) and the Conservatists (Pro-D.Miguel).

In 1580 happens in this city the only known case in Portugal of an organized revolt against the Inquistion.

Among the most important personalities from Fundão is António Fernández Carvajal (1590-1659), great entrepeneur who, persecuted by the Inquistion, came to settle in England where he eventually founded a great company on commercial trading by sea.

Fundão - Streets with Memory


Jewish cultural stratum evident in Fundão’s history has been one of the most firm coordinates in its identity discourses.


Fundão was a territory of destiny and passage between Estrela Mountain and the horizons of the South. Here jews of the diaspora flocked and flowed to other geographies. The implantation of dominant intolerance structures until the 19th century concealed a miscegenation of habits and designs. The jewish community muted into subtle horizons, new-christians between landscapes of converts, watched rhythms and the faith of the heart. Today, the buildings in the historic area mask memories of an everyday life of shadows and voices that echo in time.

Jewish memory congregates in Cale’s street. In the 20th century, Moisés Abrantes, a great protector of Fundão´s jewish history, remembered the "Kahal", the street where the jews would meet to worship and also the house where unleavened bread was produced: "It was a new-christian from Spain that began to manufacture the (...) Cale bread or Spanish bread (...). How many times, in our childhood, we went there to buy some sparrows made of white dough!"

Here there are other aspects of the jewish past, such as Fernando Pessoa’s paternal links. Jewish Fundão wants to be a land of rediscovery and reflection of so many truths solidified in a geography that reconnects belief, time, conscience and heart. One day, Pessoa recalled: "Be tolerant because you are not sure of anything".



Posto do Turismo do Fundão

Rua 5 de Outubro nº 11 – A

275 779 040

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A Moagem – Cidade do Engenho e das Artes

Largo da Estação

275 779 032

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