Beja, situated on a hill high above the Alentejo`s Golden Plains, boasts a history that stretches back to the time of the Celts. Romans knew Beja as Pax Julia, a prime trading outpost connected by road to Lisbon, Merida, Santarem and Braga. One of modern-day Portugal`s most dynamic regional capitals, Beja`s importance as a commercial center is still evident two millennia after the time of Pax Julia.
Much of the town was destroyed on a number of occasions, most notably in the 12th century during battles between the Moors and the Portuguese crown, and in 1808 when the French sacked the town and killed nearly all the townspeople. Today, Beja is thriving not only as a city of historical significance, but as a haven for artists, sculptors, writers, and restaurateurs.
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