Tourist Guide to Almendres Cromlech

by alrou on August 19, 2014

Almendres Cromlech is the biggest megalithic site in the Iberian Peninsula Almendres Cromlech is the biggest megalithic site in the Iberian Peninsula

A visit to Portugal would easily get you to the Evora complex, in the Alentejo region, which would serve your eyes with pre-historic pleasure but just five kilometres away, there is more, the Almendres Cromlech also known as Cromeleque dos Almendres. This site was built almost 6000 years ago during the Stone Age period but that alone is not the reason to fancy the place as it is also the biggest megalithic site in the Iberian Peninsula. The significance of astronomy was demonstrated this way by the builders of the megaliths. The site which is considered perhaps man’s first ever public monument is consistent of two circles of stones which is believed to be that way due to modifications from time to time. There are 92 oval stones which could measure 30 by 60 meters. Today, you would still find a couple of stones with visible markings and inscriptions.

What was the Almendres Cromlech used for?

Even though there is no exact evidence of the activities that took place in this site during the Neolithic period, most people are inclined to believe that the area was some sacred place used for worship. Besides its purpose for religion practices, the site could have been used as the most primitive observatory for astronomical happenings. This was reached after archaeological inferences found out that most of the markings made on the monoliths were images of the moon and the sun. Some of them even revealed that there were makings that resembled solstices and equinoxes.

Visiting the Almendres Cromlech

Menir dos Almendres in the Almendres Cromlech by BestInPortugal.comThe megaliths are situated in the Herdade dos Almendres, near a village called Guadalupe along the Monte dos Almendres slopes. The magnificent evidence of historic evolution stands firmly on red earth within cork trees and olive trees. The first thing ever noticed at this site is a single menhir 4.5 meters tall that stands facing towards the sunrise. This gives but another proof that the site would have been used as an astronomical observatory for the people back then. During your visit to Portugal, you may not want to miss out on visiting the Almendres Cromlech because not only will you feel like you have travelled back in time but you will also access it free of charge. While here, you may stay the night at the nearby car park. To date, the site is still treated as a religious one as most people who visit are seen perform a ritual or two when they are there. To get there, you would need to hire a car as that is the only easy way and in as much as the drive may be a crazy one on the dusty road, the site is worth the trouble.

Almendres Cromlech_2 by BestInPortugal.com Despite the shallow astronomical evidences portrayed by the past activities that took place in the Cromeleque dos Almendres, there is a lunar significance demonstrated there. Also, the circles have been found out to be oriented towards both the equinox’s sunrise and the sunset. Nothing would be much more exciting to come face to face with in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Like Almendres Cromlech, there are so many ancient places in Portugal. In your life time, you must visit this country at least for once.

Author Bio:

I am Jessica, freelancer and part time blogger. I love reading and writing blogs. Apart from this I like traveling around the world and share my traveling experience by means of my article. Currently I am doing a research work on Esta which will assist you in visa services.

Other links of interest

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The role of cork in Portugal

by alrou on July 19, 2014

Cork oak forest (Quercus suber) in Portugal

For many years, Quercus suber or cork oak as it is commonly known has been cultivated in Portugal for its thick and spongy bark. The cork oak ecosystem in this country has high biodiversity of plants and animals with evergreen trees which are covered by silvery lichen. These plants are well adapted to the hot and dry weather of southern Europe. Portugal is the world’s leading producer of cork, thus there are European programs put in place to protect the trees and help farmer’s plant new stands.

Role played by cork oak in Portugal:

Employment:

These trees provide a source of income to people who live in the nearby farmsteads and towns at the hilltop. There are many foresters who earn a living by stripping off the outer layer of the trees. In addition, there are about 500 factories in the country which offer employment to more than 20,000 workers. A typical family cork farm of about 1, 400 acres can produce 45 tons of the tree bark. This can be used as wine stoppers because of the unique properties such as;

- Resistant to rot

- Light in weight

- Impermeable to liquid and gas

- Termite resistant

- Resistant to fire

- It is soft and buoyant

Nutrition:

Acorns are fruits gotten from cork which have high nutritional value not only for humans but also birds, pigs and other mammals. Acorns from white oaks are low in tannin and high in proteins and carbohydrates. The nut fruits can be ingested in any of the following forms;

• Boil the whole fruit before eating

• Grind into flour then baked

• Roast and add in coffee drink

Harvesting the bark of a cork tree requires skill not to harm the tree

Trade:

Cork counts for about 16% of all Portuguese export trade. The evergreen plantations in Portugal bring in foreign exchange from tourists who travel all the way to see the cork oaks. Besides the production and export of cork stoppers with account to 70% of the value of the exports of cork, foreign exchange is also earned from the export of acorns and other cork products like cork message boards, printing paper, shoe soles, handles for fishing rods, cigarette tips, hat bands, table mats and cork tile flooring to foreign countries. The main consumer markets are;

• Germany

• United Kingdom

• United States of America

• Australia

• Brazil

• Canada and others

Land use

Growing and harvesting cork stands offers traditional and sustainable use of land in Portugal. There are many commercial and individual cork farms. The land also acts as a precious habitat for endangered species like Iberian imperial eagle and Iberian lynx. These animals are valued and protected in cork forests. The cork oaks provide use for land that would otherwise have not been as productive given the weather conditions in the area.

Cork bark used for wine stoppers

Conservation

Oaks play an important role of environmental conservation in Portugal. The forests are important in both conservation and economic development in the following ways;

• Preventing soil erosion

• Maintenance of watersheds

• Keeping the soils healthy

With all these roles played by cork, you might wish to visit southern Portugal and experience things first hand. Cork offers a good business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Author Bio:

Mira Jasmin is an enthusiastic blogger from Manchester, UK. In her extra time, she composes articles on different subjects, for example, engineering, and contraptions, travel…etc. Starting now she is concentrating on Turkish visa , which is a non-legislative online application administration for getting an e-Visa to enter Turkey.

Photo Credits: Corticeira Amorim, the largest world producer of cork products

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