Beja, Portugal is a city and a municipality in the Alentejo region with a population of around forty thousand residents and covers an area of some 1,146 square kilometres of mainly agricultural farm land and grazing fields. Of the forty thousand residents, approximately half of them live within the city itself which is perched atop a 277 metre hill and boasts a commanding view over the expansive plains below.
Beja traces its history through Celtic times, Roman rule and the conquest by the Umayyad army in 713. Between the 10th and 13th centuries conquests included those by Christians, Moors and the Portuguese under Fernao Goncalves and came again under Portuguese rule in 1234 when King Sancho II recaptured the town from the Moors. During the Portuguese Restoration war the town which became a city again in 1521 was occupied by both the Portuguese and Spanish armies whilst in 1808 the Napoleonic troops under General Junot captured and massacred the residents.
Beja is the hottest district capital city in Portugal and although cool in the winter months the summers are long and hot with average temperatures throughout the year ranging between 10ºC AND 35ºC. The average rainfall is around 500mm although some years are particularly arid.
Beja has eleven Civil Parishes
Albernoe e Trindade, Baleizao, Beja (Salvador e Santa Maria da Feira) (Santiago Maior e Sao Joao Baptista), Beringel, Cabeca Gorda, Nossa Senhora das Neves, Salvador e Quintos, Santa Clara de Louredo, Santa Vitoria e Mombeja, Sao Matias, Trigaches e Sao Brissos.
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