Monsanto Things to Do

  • Castle - Monsanto
    Castle - Monsanto
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  • St Sebastian arch - Monsanto
    St Sebastian arch - Monsanto
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    Tower Lucano

    by solopes Updated Dec 18, 2013

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    Monsanto - Portugal

    Also called the clock tower, for obvious reasons, this is the tallest building in the village, providing good views to those who don't risk the hard climbing to the castle.

    Atop of this 14th century tower, a silvery clock was the official prize for "the most Portuguese village of Portugal".

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    The Village

    by solopes Updated Dec 20, 2012

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    Monsanto - Portugal
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    I don't know if it really is "the most Portuguese village of Portugal" as it is widely advertised. It leaves the sensation of a dead village, but I must admit that villages are dying in Portugal, so even that is "very Portuguese".

    Its visit is interesting, and even if you don't dare the hard climbing to the castle, the visit of only the village will justify your trip.

    With luck, maybe you find someone, and if you do, you will confirm that locals are really gentle and welcoming, even without touristic business in mind.

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    S Miguel

    by solopes Updated Aug 30, 2012
    Castle - Monsanto

    Close to the castle there's a ruined chapel. It was called St. Miguel chapel, and was built in Romanic style at the end of the 12th century. The chapel is surrounded by a few graves carved in the rocks.

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    Arch Sebastião

    by solopes Updated Aug 30, 2012
    St Sebastian arch - Monsanto

    Integrated with "EspĂ­rito Santo" chapel, one of the doors got the chapel's name, also called, I don't know why, St. Sebastian arch. The chapel is from the 16th century, but the arch must be older, probably already with the saint's name.

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    The Castle

    by solopes Updated Aug 30, 2012

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    Monsanto - Portugal
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    If you feel in good condition you may accept the challenge of climbing to the castle.

    It has nothing particularly relevant, but it obliges to walk along all the village, and reaching the top, it rewards you with some awesome sights.

    Someone said that Monsanto is the most Portuguese village of Portugal. I don't know if it's true, but tradition is honestly present everywhere, and coming down, you will feel like having lived something real.

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    Megalithic graves

    by berenices Updated Apr 29, 2010

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    Just outside the castle wall, on the other route that goes back down to the village, are several megalithic graves. They look quite impressive as several seem to have been dug or shaped out of a single huge block of stone. We were quite surprised to see these structures, as we didn't see any info about it, and we only happened on them as we were following a different trail to go down to the village. The villagers graze their goats on nearby patches, and as at that time the trail was empty except for us, the entire scenery threw us back to how life here must have been like millennia ago.

    The walk down is quite easy, and more interesting, as one gets a spectacular view all around without being hemmed in by the stone-houses. There are even rocks so formed that they provide some cavelike structure or overhang -- as we were caught by a heavy rain, we took shelter in one of them -- it just added to the wonder of this place.

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    stroll

    by quartinb Updated Oct 3, 2005

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    a stroll through the village's narrowed streets with lots of interesting, historic wise, buildings with Manueline doors and the house were it's most known inhabitant, doctor and writer, Fernando Namora lived and practised, and were his most known novel ( fragments of a doctor's life ) take place.

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    Views from the castle

    by easyoar Written Dec 26, 2004

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    View from Monsanto Castle

    Of course, most people don't climb up to the castle to see the castle, and I certainly didn't either.

    The only real reason to go up is to see the views down to Monsanto which are quite spectacular.

    It is easy to see houses amongst the rocks, and all the red tiled roofs intertwined amongst eachother in all sorts of weird shapes and patterns. It is also quite easy to pick out details such as the church or the cemetery.

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    Bizarre Castle Steps

    by easyoar Written Dec 26, 2004

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    Bizarre steps at Monsanto Castle

    There isn't too much to say about these castle steps really! You have to climb them to go up over the castle wall and into the castle.

    I have never seen anything like these, and I found their design quite interesting.

    They look like they could be quite awkward to climb, but they feel very natural to go up and down.

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    What's left of Monsanto's Castle

    by easyoar Written Dec 26, 2004

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    All that is left of Monsanto Castle

    Monsanto has a ruined castle up on the hill above it. It has a great position as you can see down all around you and it is quite a step trek to get up there. There are still some walls left, but nothing that you could call as castle.

    This castle was originally built by the Lusitanians as a fortified development, and was improved from there. It was destroyed in the 19th Century by an explosion caused by gunpowder.

    There is a story told that the villagers of Monsanto were once surrounded by the Moors (the Arabs that used to live in Spain and Portugal a few hundred years ago). The idea was to starve them out of the castle. When the villagers were down to their last calf, they got desperate, and decided to kill it, stuff it with their last grain, and throw it over the wall to show the Moors they would never give up. Apparently it worked, and the Moors left them. In May each year, the villagers re-enact this 'victory' and have a party too.

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    Monsanto's idea of a two story bedsit?

    by easyoar Written Dec 26, 2004

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    Monsanto's idea of a two story bedsit?

    Is this house supposed to be a two storey bedsit (i.e. one small appartment downstairs, and another different one upstairs)?

    I don't reckon I could stand up inside either of them being over 6 foot tall (approx 185 cm), and there looks to be very little space in both of them.

    However the Monsanto charm mans that theey do look very quaint and beautiful, even if they don't look very practical!

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    Higgle de piggledy houses

    by easyoar Written Dec 26, 2004

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    Houses fitted around eachother

    This picture shows houses that would probably make a modern town planner have a fit due to their different heights, orientations and they way they are all squashed toegther.

    Whilst this would look pretty bad in a modern town, this just adds to the charm in Monsanto where all of the houses have had to be built around obstacles or eachother.

    In 1938, Monsanto won a competition in Portugal for being the Most Portuguese Town in Portugal. Quite what this means is beyond me as surely this would mean it had to be the most average town in Portugal, which it certainly is not!

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    A House UNDER a rock!

    by easyoar Updated Dec 26, 2004

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    A house UNDER a rock!

    I have to admt I would feel a shade wary about living in this house!

    It has been built UNDER a rock! It looks like somebody doesn't quite trust the rock either, as a stick of rock has been placed inbetween the two big rocks to brace them apart, you may have to enlarge the photo to see this however.

    This picture also shows a terrace built up from this house that sits around the second of the two rocks, and another house that is built between the two rocks. This picture is probably the best one I have for showing just how much the villagers have to be creative to use every inch of space that they have!

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    Inside a Derelict old Rock House

    by easyoar Updated Dec 26, 2004

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    Inside a derelict Rock House

    Unfortunately I didn't quite have a lens wide enough with me to do this justice, but trust me when I say this house was tiny!

    This house had been abandoned for some reason and everything removed apart from some collapsed door and fallen in roof. The front door was propped open, so it was possible to look inside.

    This picture shows the view from the doorway - I didn't consider it safe to venture any further! The boulder the house was built against can be seen on the right of the picture. Quite how they managed to fit much mre than a bedroom and one other room inside would be beyond me. When I looked, all the internal walls were missing, so it was impossible to see what the room layout would have been - if indeed there ever was any!

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    Beautiful old buildings near the church

    by easyoar Updated Dec 26, 2004

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    Beautiful buildings in Monsanto

    These are some of Monsanto's most beautiful old buildings, and are very near to the church and the Pousada. The term Pousada may not be familiar with a lot of people. If you are familiar with Spain, you will probably have heard of a Parador - it is a pretty up market hotel that is run by the government. A Pousada is Portugals answer to a Parador.

    These buildings are unusual in that they are whitewashed. Most of Monsanto's buildings are bare stone, which is very nice, but this makes a nice contrast!

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