Monsanto is a village located in a mountaintop overlooking the Portuguese countryside. Its most noticeable characteristic is many of the houses are built under huge rocks or in between them. The village has not changed much in hundreds of years and is considered a large museum for the entire country. The architecture of the village reminds of the Portuguese Manueline style, which can be found in various buildings and a church. The entire structure creates a sense of going back in time, where every modernity has to be left behind.
In 1938, Monsanto was dubbed the most ”Portuguese town in Portugal”, probably referring to its architecture, which has remained the same over thousands of years.
Its most unique characteristic is that houses are built under huge boulders or sandwiched in between.
The mountain of Monsanto rises to the East of the Idanha-a-Nova up to 758 meters above sea level.
The mountain rock is granite, which expands to the rest of village with many of the houses having been partially made of granite.
At the top of the village you will find the remains of a Templar Castle, which was partially destroyed by an explosion in the 19th century.
The entire village is made of traditional, rock streets that resemble pavements due to their small extent.
Not every house is built under or in between boulders, but the latter can be found in various places around the village.
In Monsanto, local people are still using donkeys and horses for transportation, so this is a sighting that you will enjoy witnessing. You can go here if you want to find out more information about traveling to the village.