Sobral da Lagoa
With its 650 inhabitants, the village of Sobral da Lagoa is located about 4 kms from Óbidos and is the smallest parish in the municipality. One of the particularities of this parish is that it only has this one village, and it is here where the majority of the parish residents live.
Stretching along the ridge of a hill, the region is one of the most picturesque of the Oeste, not only because of the white houses descending the slopes of the east and west-facing hills, but also because of its magnificent landscapes that offer a splendid panoramic over the Castle of Óbidos and great views towards Serra de Aire, Candeeiros, Montejunto and Cesaredas. To the west, the Óbidos Lagoon and the Atlantic dominate the horizon and influence the microclimate which is of great importance to its agricultural activity.
At an altitude of close to 100m, the hills facing west are more fertile for farming. It is in this environment of microfarming that for a long time the farmers of Sobral da Lagoa have cultivated morello trees in a spontaneous way. Apart from representing an extra income to their agricultural activity, these trees divide properties, act as a protection for the cornfields from the wind and consolidate trenches on the slopes of the land.
Home to hardworking people who live off the land, the village is also famously known for the cultivation of onions and for the hospitality of its people. To visit
Sobral da Lagoa when the morello trees are in flower, normally from the second week of April to mid May, is a bucolic experience that should not be missed, with the bunches of flowers in white palettes, impossible to reproduce, descending the slopes in direction of the lowlands.
Strong northerly winds, a solar exposition influenced by Atlantic breezes and the humidity produced by morning fogs that roll up the hill from the Óbidos Lagoon make the ginjas of Sobral da Lagoa the desired fruit of many Ginja liqueur producers. Over the past decade, as a result of the increase in demand for this liqueur, this fruit has gained more commercial value, with local producers planting more morello cherry trees and others coming from further away, namely from Alcobaça, attracted by the exceptional conditions of Sobral da Lagoa for the production of the best fruit.
At the end of June, beginning of July, the Sobral da Lagoa fields are painted in red with its ginjeiras full of fruit. Even today, the farmers with their donkeys transport baskets full of ginjas from backyards and land parcels where the intervention of machines is impossible. At this time of the year, everyone is mobilized to pick the ginjas that will give origin to the Oppidum Ginja de Óbidos.
Sobral throughout History
According to the text published on pages 416 and 417 of volume 9 of the dictionary Portugal Antigo e Moderno by Pinho Leal, edited in 1880 by Editora (Mattos Moreira & Companhia) and reproduced below, the village of Sobral da Lagoa was founded in 1583 by Domingos dos Santos Ferreira Neto.
This document is considered an extremely reliable and important source of information for any study of the history of the village and brings to light several particularities that are of interest to historians such as:
|dictionary Portugal Antigo e Moderno by Pinho Leal|
|Sundial inlaid at the corner of the Nossa Senhora da Conceição chapel|
- The roots of the strong religious fervour of its inhabitants, still true today;
- The reason why so many ordained priests originated from the village;
- Land distribution;
- The reason for the existence of a group of farms and the wealth produced by their owners (a singular phenomenon in the municipality of Óbidos, and precisely in its smallest parish) as evidenced by the size and quality of construction of some of the houses in the historic centre;
- An explanation for the wave of emigration to the USA at the end of the 19th century, and which continued until the 1960s;
- How the cultivation of onions got its start, an agricultural product that was of the upmost importance to the village's rural economy;
- An explanation for the cultivation of the ginja orchards, carried out almost exclusively in Sobral da Lagoa.
All of the above took place within the context of the smallest parish of the municipality of Óbidos, both geographically and in terms of population, made up of a single, almost peninsular village since Sobral da Lagoa is located high up on a ridge and not on a through road, and therefore quite isolated in comparison with other villages.