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Inhabited since prehistoric times, as demonstrated by several archaeological finds, the oldest document proving the existence of Sardoal dates back to 1313, and consists of a letter written by Queen Santa Isabel, the wife of King Dom Dinis, now kept in the Municipal Library.

The town, perched on a hilltop, is most picturesque, with its whitewashed houses decorated with flowers, and with the streets of the old town paved with pebblestones from the river.

Among the several churches and chapels, which during the Holy Week ceremonies are decked with carpets of flowers, pride of place is taken by the 16th century Parish Church, where there are various notable works by the great Renaissance painter born here and therefore known as the Master of Sardoal.