Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monsanto - A Village Of Rocks

Monsanto is a beautiful Portuguese village built on the side of a mountain. Local houses are squeezed between huge boulders and narrow streets are carved from the rock. This place is like a living museum. The village is located in Southeast of Serra da Estrela. With houses squeezed between gigantic boulders, it's a stunning sight.

Its appearance hasn't changed in centuries, with tiny streets carved from the rock. Some of the granite houses have Manueline doorways and the ruins of a castle  that started as a Lusitanian fortified settlement, affords magnificent views stretching as far as Serra da Estrela. Next to the castle are the ruins of a Romanesque chapel, adding to the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere.

In 1938 Monsanto was voted the most Portuguese village in Portugal in a national contest, and since then building restrictions have allowed it to remain a living museum. It is not easy to reach Monsanto by public transportation, but its atmosphere and immense panorama is worth a drive from the towns nearby or Serra da Estrela.

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