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Jaillan Yehia

Discover Portugal’s Answer To Stonehenge – The Almendres stone circle

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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Almendres stone circle

Almendres stone circle

Just outside the UNESCO World Heritage City of Evora in Portugal’s sleepy Alentejo region lies the Iberian Peninsula’s largest Megalithic monument, the mysterious and enigmatic Almendres stone circle. Built 7,000 years ago – and  2,000 years before Stonehenge  – it’s still attracting visitors, if you can find it down a quiet dusty road that is…

I’m in Evora and I’ve just read about Portugal’s answer to Stonehenge – Almendres stone circle. I’m intrigued.

Clutching just a single sheet of paper with a brief explanation of the ancient stones that lie on the outskirts of the city, I decide to spend the rest of the afternoon seeking them out.

Information at Almendres megalithic site

Information at Almendres megalithic site

Described as the most diverse and monumental megalithic landscape in the Iberian Peninsula my leaflet explains that Evora was strategically placed in early times at the confluence of various rivers, and on key travelling routes which is why so many mysterious monuments can be found on the land to the West of the city.

A combination of the basic map showing the location of the megaliths and a slightly more 21st century SatNav help me discover that a single solitary stone called the Monte dos Almendres menhir and the main Stonehenge-like circle of stones, are close to each other so I decide to head to the single stone first.

the Monte dos Almendres menhir

The well-trodden path to the Monte dos Almendres menhir

You walk down an eroded and  well-trodden yet completely unsignposted path to reach the stone. Like so many monuments left by early mankind from the pyramids to Stonehenge itself you can’t help but marvel at how anyone managed to control nature, with none of the technology or machinery that we have today. How did they get the stone here? How did they lift it? How did they get it to stand up – and remain standing for seven thousand years?

Almendres megalithic site

Almendres megalithic site

Next I move to the far larger and more powerful Almendres stone circle – a set of stones constructed on the top of a hill from boulders which are far larger than me. There is a French couple looking around at the stones and a couple of ladies walking their dogs, but other than that we have the site to ourselves.

It’s completely peaceful and calm and I can understand why some people say it is magical here.

The views are stunning and I stay to watch the sunset in silence. You couldn’t do that at Stonehenge.

The Almendres menhir

Me at the Almendres menhir – the stone is twice my height!

More Info

To find the Almendres Stones Circle visit the tourist office in Evora and ask for a copy of the Evora, Capital of the Iberian megalithic leaflet

The basic map shows the position of Almendres stone circle and menhir in relation to Evora, Valverde and Guadalupe

If you’re using Satnav start by heading out of Evora West towards Lisbon, and towards Guadalupe on the N114 and you should then see signs

The sites are free, but there are no facilities of any kind (apart from somewhere to park your car) and there is very little information, so if you want to know more you’ll have to read up beforehand!

 

 

 

SavoirThere was a guest of Sunvil Discovery in the Alentejo

 

 

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