Obidos is a small town of just over 3000 inhabitants inside its medieval walls. The name of the town, in fact, comes from the Latin word oppidum, meaning “fortified city.” It is located on the central coast of Portugal, about 50 miles north of the capital, Lisbon. The castle was built during Roman times, but the Moors of North Africa had a more significant impact on the culture of this city, as they ruled what is today Obidos for several hundred years after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was not until 1148 that Obidos came under Portuguese control. There, it developed into a medieval hub for trade.

The town today has retained much of its medieval atmosphere to the present day. The city walls have been carefully maintained as historical and architectural landmarks. A few other significant structures have also been built in the centuries since Afonso Henriques captured the city from the Moors, including the main entrance to town, the Porta da Vila; the main church, Igreja de Santa Maria; and a castle that formerly served as a military stronghold. Another building of architectural and cultural interest is the Santuário do Senhora da Pedro, a church that was begun in 1740 but only finished during the 20th century. The unusual hexagonal structure is quite striking, as it stands alone on a hill outside the city wall.