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Monsanto, Portugal: The Town Among Boulders

Monsanto, Portugal: The Town Among Boulders

Ethan Allen

Nested on a picturesque mountainside in rural Portugal is a charming village built among huge boulders. Monsanto (population: 828) has hardly changed through the ages.

Narrow cobblestone streets wind up to a steep path, passing through curious houses carved from stone. Practically a living museum, Monsanto’s establishment dates back to the early Stone Age, with traces of Gothic and Roman settlement as well as Arab presence through the centuries.

Monsanto has been voted as the most “Portuguese town in Portugal” in 1938, with its rich culture and fascinating architecture representative to the classic Portuguese style.

Granite-hewn houses possess doorways of Manueline style. The red-roofed houses sandwiched among large mossy stone structures stand out from the stark gray landscape of Mt. Monsanto, east of Idanha-a-Nova. , The ruins of a castle from the Lusitanian conquest offer a magnificent view of the countryside stretching as far as Serra da Estrela.

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