top of page


"Santarém is a stone book in which the most interesting of our chronicles is written"

Almeida Garrett

"Several legends surround the foundation and the name of the city of Santarém. The oldest one originates in Abidis, fruit of the loves of Ulysses and Calypso

According to this myth, Ulysses made his way to the mouth of the Tagus in 1215 BC and rested there before returning to the city of Santarém.

Then he met Calypso, the daughter of Ggorgor, king of the Cunetas, and prince of Lusitania, and Abidis was born of this love. Furious, Ggorgor pursued Ulysses, who fled.

As for his grandson, Ggorgor cast him into the river into a basket. Taken by the current, the basket went to the beach of Santarém, where a deer found and suckled Abidis.

At the age of twenty, Abidis was discovered by his mother, Calypso. King Gárgoris, impressed by the grandson's extraordinary odyssey, recognized him as his successor and legitimate heir to the throne.

In honor of the place where he had spent so many years of his life, Abidis founded a city there, which he named Esca-Abidis (the manger of Abidis) and which the Romans later called Scalabis.

It is of the Roman name of Santarém that derives the one of its inhabitants - escalabitanos.

As for the current name of the city, it originates in the legend of Santa Iria (or Irene). Santa Iria was a young virgin of Visigothic origin who was raped and mortified in Tomar, later thrown to the river Nabão.

Some time later, her body, completely preserved, was found in the sands of the Tagus, next to Santarém.

In her honor, the Roman name Scalabis of the city was changed to Sancta Irene, having later evolved to "Santarém." 


Dulce Rodrigues


Santarém was conquered to the Moors by Dom Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal. The period of Muslim rule ended on March 15, 1147 with the conquest of the castle by the Portuguese king.

bottom of page