Monsanto, the Real Stone Village

This time I’ll take you in a special tour deep in the village. This isn’t a common village, like other village. But this is a stone village, namely Monsanto. Monsanto is an authentic Portuguese village built between gigantic stones. We can see many houses squeezed between gigantic boulders and stunning views. Its appearance hasn't changed from time to time, with tiny streets carved from the rock. The location of this village is in Southeast of Serra da Estrela (Portugal), perched on the side of a mountain. Many people called this as stone houses.

Monsanto is a small village, having a significant population in Roman times. In the twelfth century, D. Afonso Henriques donated the population, conquered from the Moors, the Order of the Templars. Probably there is already a fortified settlement in prehistoric times, as identified in the vicinity materials of Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age.

The land of rare beauty as the symbol of the gigantic boulders and manpower play the lead role. "Holy Mountain" is the bulwark of charismatic Erges border, so the Monsanto people brave to say that "Monsanto who conquers and conquers the world." In the past of the legends and stories related to invasions and attacks on the population.

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By preserving the natural harmony of rock fragments, made this village never outdated. Why I can say like this, because of the special layout of Monsanto has not changed over the past century. That’s why Monsanto claimed as a national asset. It was voted “most Portuguese village in Portugal”, in 1938 by national contest. Monsanto itself is an authentic Portuguese village. All the uniqueness made this village turned it into a “museum city”. The building restrictions have succeeded in keeping the village as a live museum. The visitors have seen the beauty of village in terms of authenticity of the buildings made of stone. Monsanto is the continuation of special tour between Almeida and Belmonte along the Spanish border.

From the picture we can see how some big stone looks like a giant statue. The big stone as a decoration from this village as something beautiful and attract many tourist as well. Tiny streets make us easy to explore the detail of Monsanto as stone village. The character was built from the ancient era make this stone as remarkable of the great architecture. Personally, Monsanto remind me about “Hercules” movie, where the people living in stone house with ancient tradition.

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Ruins of the castle

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The locals for hundreds of years build out their houses and created the real harmony of stone. We can see how this village is far away from modern technologies. But the people are still willing to pay for this style. This is unusual and unique stone houses stand in the Portuguese town of Monsanto. Once as the most magnificent view from Monsanto are the ruins of the castle of the former Lusitanian and the castle a ruined Romanesque chapel. Although it is not easy to reach Monsanto by public transportation, but we can still reach this village by car from the neighboring towns or the serra da Estrela.

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Monsanto stands in the Northeast side of Idanha Lands, nestled on a steep hill slope. There are several villages along the slope and at the bottom of the hill. The village of Monsanto, wild nature and human construction are in harmony. The giant boulders forming houses, even serving them solo, sometimes serving them on the wall. Still maintains the village authenticity because most residents were moving into an area of the valley, which gave rise to an urban core.

It's a very ancient place since the Paleolithic Era. Mosanto as the historical village is one of the most remarkable in Europe. The medieval castle is situated on the granite cliffs at the highest point of the village at 758m high. Even the tourist can see stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the 400 feet high hill. From this hill stands a very old square built fortress. The tourists may well find the most memorable sights of their vacation.

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Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto

But how do we stay here for a couple of days? Don’t worry about that. There’s a hotel which is situated in the town of Monsanto. The exactly place is in the east of Portugal close to the Spanish border or less than 160 km's from Salamanca. Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto has 10 rooms with private bathroom. This hotel has succeeded in creating a balance between modern comfort and traditional style. Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto is completed with bar and restaurant, it also has an open fireplace. The restaurant at Estalagem de Monsanto offers regional and international cuisine. Such as: various soup (Pumpkin Soup, Mushroom Soup, Broad Bean Soup with spicy Sausage, Chestnut Soup, Turnip Soup), fish menu (Octopus in the Oven with Tomatoes, Beans with Codfish, Stuffed Trout with Cured Ham), meat menu (Veal Breast with Vegetables, Veal with Tomato Sauce), various dessert and fruits (Cheese Cake & Grape Fruit, Fig Cake and Almonds, Chestnut Pudding). The menu is always changed from day by day with special offers.

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What can we see here

Mother Church was built in the 15th century and restored in the 18th century. Roman doorway as the prove that it still keeps its older elements. Antiga Aldeia (Old Wine Cellar), Pousada de Monsanto, Antiga Capela do Soccorro, Igreja da Misericódia (Mercy Church), Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower), Gruta (Cave), Forno Comunitário (Communial Oven), Porta da Traição (Betrayal Door), Casa do Guarda (Sentry House), St. Maria do Castelo Church, the Governors' House, Capela de São João (St. Johns Chapel), Torre do Pião (Pin Tower), Pinheiro Family's Manor House, Largo do Cruzeiro (Cross Square), Capela do Espírito Santo, Capela de São Miguel do Castelo.

Gruta

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Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower)

Igreja

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Capela de São Miguel do Castelo

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Stone in Everywhere

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Route to Monsanto

But how do we get there? I got this information from official website of Monsanto homestead. We can use a normal road map over Portugal to find Castelo Branco and then follow the roads from here to Monsanto. We can use 5-hour train from Porto to Castelo Branco, and then connecting to Monsanto. From Porto to Castelo Branco we can take the Bus. The bus journeys approximately about 4 hours 30 minutes. Another suggestion is from Lisbon to Castelo Branco we can use train (taking approximately three hours) or we can use express bus (2 1/2 hours) from "Terminal Rodoviario de Seite Rios" near Lisbon Zoo. Bus time table is from Castello Branco – Monsanto and From Monsanto – Castello Branco. We can follow this time table:

Castelo Branco - Monsanto:

  • 11:40 Sundays or Mondays if a holiday.
  • 12:25 All working days, except Sundays and holidays.
  • 17:15 Working days, except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Monsanto - Castelo Branco:

  • 07:15 All working days, except Sundays and holidays.
  • 14:22 Sundays or Mondays if a holiday.

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Monsanto in sketch

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How do we find Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto? When we reach Monsanto, go up to The São Salvador Church and we are there. For further information we can contact: Tourism office number Monsanto (tel. 800 265 265/277 314 642). Please enjoy the video of Monsanto below!

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Comments 55 comments

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

This place is incredible! I love the photos you included. I do think I see a phone booth right outside a house. You have made a very interesting Hub, well planned and thought out.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Oh my gosh...this would be so much fun to see in person! There is a place outside of Phoenix, Arizona where wealthy people have built their homes into the sides of huge rocks much like these people in Portugal did centuries before. Obviously it costs more to build innovative designs incorporating natural rocks in place and build around it than throw up the standard wooden or brick and mortar buildings. It would take special architectural designs and good building practices...but what the people end up with are unique and beautiful houses.

Loved this hub! You continue to amaze me, Prasetio. Up across the board except for funny.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, mary615. Welcome to this hub. Thank you so much for coming and your compliment to this hub. I hope you enjoy all information about Monsanto. Have a good day!

Prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My friend, Peggy. I am so happy to see you here. Thanks for coming and share about another beautiful stone villages like this one in Arizona. If you have trusted information, you can write this place into a special hub. I believe that you can make better than me. I agree with you about the cost in built the house into the side of hug rocks. Amazing combination between natural rocks, wood, bricks and others materials. It has to be a great design.

I am glad you love this hub. Your vote really appreciated here. I hope you always healthy...amen. Have a good day!

Blessing and hugs, Prasetio


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Monsanto looks like a fascinating village in a beautiful area of Portugal, which I would love to explore. Thanks for another interesting tour, Prasetio!


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 4 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

This Hub Is Rock Solid Pras...I Enjoyed Reading.)


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

What an outstanding hub this is, pras. Some of those giant boulders seem to hover over the houses below. I don't know how well I would sleep at night with gigantic rocks over my head. But Monsanto does seem to be a fantastic place to visit.

The only foods missing from that hotel's menu seem to be ROCK lobster and STONE bread. :)

'Obrigada' (thank you) for this treat.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 4 years ago

Fascinating stone village, I'd love to visit such a village. Unusual. ;)

Voted up and tweeted.


funride profile image

funride 4 years ago from Portugal

This is the ONLY Monsanto worthwhile maintain! :)

Hi Prasetio, thank you so much for this hub! Been in Monsanto last year during a mountain-bike journey... it`s an absolutely fantastic place! My mother born in a village few miles from there :)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is another fantastic hub, so unique and a place i'd love to visit. The rock formations provide a fortress around the homes. I would feel very safe there..Thank you again my friend...


Lee B profile image

Lee B 4 years ago from New Mexico

I had no idea this place existed! I'd love to visit! Sure enjoyed this hub and great photos.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, AliciaC. Thank you so much for coming and leave nice comment about Monsanto. Personally, I want to visit this village one day! Take care. Peace, Prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Your welcome, Mentalist Acer. I am glad you love this hub. Thank you very much. ~prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My friend, drbj. Thank you very much for coming and share your thought about Monsanto. The first time I saw the picture, I have the same feeling with you. But this village seems quiet and comfort to live. I am glad you love this information.

o seu bem-vindos (your welcome). ~prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My friend, Ingenira. Nice to see you again. I am so happy to know that you entertained with this information. Take care!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, funride. Nice to see you here. Thanks for share your experience about mountain-bike journey in Monsanto. I am glad to know that your mother was born in a village few miles from Monsanto. Great to see you here. I'll see your hub soon. Take care!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Your welcome, Ruby. Nice to see you again. Thanks for coming and share your thought about Monsanto. Have a good day! ~prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, Lee B. Thank you so much for coming to this hub. I hope you enjoy this information. Cheers.... ~prasetio


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

Fantastic hub as always Prasetio! I love how they have built their houses around and in harmony with these magnificent stones. It gives Monsanto a very special character. We can all learn something from this place since today no one would take the time and effort to build houses like this. You have put together a great article with hotel and restaurants as well as how to get there. It can not get better, Voted up

Tina


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear friend, Tina. Thank you so much for your appreciation to this hub. I am glad to see you here and I know you you pay more attentions about the giant rock houses in Monsanto. We can see how the architecture from the ancient history still exist until now. Your vote is well worth. Have a good day!

Love and peace,


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Wow, this hub is totally amazing. Love the ancient feel of the village and how it manages to preserve the harmony between nature and people. As usual, your pictures are outstanding and they only make me wish I can visit the place. Rated up across the borders.


tebo profile image

tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

The photos as usual are great. What a magnificent place. So real and made from the surrounding stone or brick in some houses. Just great, I would love to visit.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 4 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the armchair voyage. I wonder if there are strong earthquakes in Monsanto. Hope none, or else the villages might go flat with all these huge stones in their area :(


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

If it weren't for you I would never know that these amazing places existed. Up and interesting and awesome too!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

up, and all across but funny. Another remarkable article that has all needed information. You have captured this article inside and out. A very great job my friend. Your hard work is seen Prasetio. I commend you for your efforts. You are the example of QUALITY HUBS.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My friend, anglnwu. Thank you so much for stopping by and share your thought about Monsanto. I agree with you about the harmony between nature and people. I love your vote and thanks for share your big appreciation to this hub. Take care!

Prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, tebo. Nice to see you again. I am glad you love this information. I hope you have a chance to visit this village...amen. ~prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, kerlynb. Good to see you here. Of course, we don't want kind of disaster like a earthquakes happened to this beautiful village. Thank you very much. Have a good day!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Your welcome, POP. I hope this virtual tour useful for you. Thank you very much for your big attention to all my travel hubs. Take care!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Your welcome, thelyricwriter. Thanks for coming and your compliment about my hubs. I'll do the best and I hope you always enjoy reading all my hubs, including this one. Cheers....

Prasetio


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

I must admit that when I saw the title of this hub, I though it was going to be about the big food company. I was pleasantly surprised. Looks like a gorgeous place with a great vibe. Great job!


Ancillotti profile image

Ancillotti 4 years ago from Brasil, Vitoria - ES

Beautiful village! Looks like a visit to centuries ago. As always brought us a beautiful and useful hub my brother!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

A great information introduction to this unusual village. Thank you.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, Stephaniedas. Welcome to this hub and I am glad you entertained with this information. I agree with you about Mosanto like a gorgeous places. Take care! ~prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My brother, Ancilotti. Thanks for share your thought about this village and your appreciation to this hub. I hope you have a chance to visit Monsanto one day!

Prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear friend, Hello, hello. Good to see you again. I hope this hub useful for you or you can put this village on your travel list. Thanks for coming. Take care!


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Prasetio

I visited Portugal many years ago. Stayed in Lisbon and Porto where Port comes from.

I didn't know about Monsato. If I did, I would have taken a visit to the stone village.

Thank you for taking us on an amazing tour of Monsato. The pictures are magnificient.

Voted up, up and away!

Take care my friend

Sue


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Wow Pras. Never seen anything like that before. Thanks so much for bringing this one out. Pics are great as always and the sketches are an nice added touch. Very unique my friend! Vote er up!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My brother, Alastar Packer. Thank you so much for coming to this hub and share your thought about this beautiful place. I really appreciate your vote as something valuable and your big appreciation to my work as well. God bless you!

Prasetio


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 4 years ago

Prasetio, Fascinating and remarkable village nestled between such massive stones! I think Monsanto would be a nice, quaint writer's haven! The views are marvelous! Another great discovery! Rated UP of course!

Thank You for sharing! In HIS Love Peace & Blessings!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear friend, DeBorrah K.Ogans. Thank you so much for coming to this hub and share your thought about Monsanto. I hope you have a chance to visit this place for relax....amen. Take care and God bless you!

Prasetio


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Wow as always, such safe havens,too. I told a girl I follow about you so now I will tell you about her. She has hubs that remind me of yours and her name is Derdriu. She is very good and I think you would enjoy her hubs and maybe even get more ideas. If I type in your name I get Mickey Dee, hubpages should fix that for you. I cannot type in your name and get to you, I have to go to a hub of mine you have visited and reach you that way. You may be losing many visits this way.

Well, we finally got our 2 year accolade didn't we friend? Feels good doesn't it?


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, Polly. Thanks for coming and nice to see you again. I am glad you want to share about someone who have the same passion like me. I'll check her hub as soon as possible. So, thanks to introduce her to me. Don't worry about my account. I had check any everything goes well. Try to type "prasetio30", and it appear in my laptop. And I try this many times after got your message about this. But, thanks to remind me about this. So, I'll check my account regularly. God bless you.

Prasetio


Derdriu 4 years ago

Prasetio30: What a fascinating and helpful article brimming with cultural, geographical, geological, historical and travel information about Portugal, one of my favorite countries as a Portuguese speaker! It is so dramatically effective the way in which you relate everything - as one should - to the boulders. Additionally, it is most convenient the way in which you give lodging, meal and transportation (complete with map) details.

Thank you, voted up, etc.,

Derdriu


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Wow prasetio what an amazing hub.So interesting with amaziing photos to balance.

A gem for my 'Armchair Travelling'slot.

Here's to very many more to share on here my friend.

I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Eiddwen.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My friend, Derdriu. Welcome to this hub. I am glad you love this information. I just try to give complete information to everyone. I agree with you that Portugal was beautiful country. Actually there are many beautiful places in Portugal. Thanks for coming and share your VOTE to this hub. Good to see you here. Cheers...

Prasetio


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear friend, Eiddwen. Good to see you again. Thanks for coming, share your opinion about this place and your compliment as well. I am so happy to know that you love this information. I hope you have a chance to visit Monsanto one day...amen. Have a nice day.

Prasetio


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

OK I tried it too and see if I add the 30 I do get you and if I don't I get someone else; so I will have to remember that and I will! Thank you for reminding me since I never think of the number when I think of you. Now I will. Now I will be a real pest, lol.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Hi, Polly. Nice to see you here. Thanks for share your wonderful comment with us. I will always love you forever as friend and part of my family as well. Have a nice day!

Prasetio


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Prasetio, you always provide such interesting and unique places to see with the information and pictures in your hub. This is no different. I was just thinking how risky it would be living with all those big boulders around the house.

Amazing Monsanto. Voted up, awesome and beautiful.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

My brother, rajan jolly. Thank you very much for stopping by and your interest for such beautiful and unique places like Monsanto. I really appreciate your vote. Take care!

Prasetio


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Awesome. It is indeed unique and spectacular and a place I would like to visit one day. Prasetio you find such interesting places to share with us and I thank you for that.

I hope all is well with you.

Angels are on the way ps pinned and shared


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear, pstraubie48. Thank you very much for coming, pinned and shared this hub. I am glad to know that you love this hub as well. I hope you can visit Monsanto one day. Have a beautiful day :-)

Prasetio


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 23 months ago from Minnesota

Monsanto looks like a place that I would love to be able to spend some time at. I have never seen anything like this in person. The photos gallery is very interesting. Thank you for the article and virtual tour.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 23 months ago from malang-indonesia Author

Dear, colorfulone. Thank you very much for coming and beautiful comment. I hope you can see the beauty of Monsanto in person. Take care and have a nice weekend!

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