The Village of Lindoso

by Nuno Madeira

The Village of Lindoso, in the parish of the municipality of Ponte da Barca and inserted in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, derives from the Latin “Limitosum” (Limesitis) that would have been some of the words King D. Dinis would have used to describe that place that “so cheerful and exquisite, he found him, and Lindoso soon called him.

As its name suggests, it is one of the most beautiful villages in Minho region, very close to the border with Spain, and has about 1300 inhabitants who are mainly engaged in agriculture and cattle raising, in a very mountainous area.

In this tourist village, you will find a Castle, rebuilt in 1278, that served to defend Lindoso and Portugal, being a reason of pride for the inhabitants of this parish, and much appreciated by those who visit it. However, not only the Castle is proud of the inhabitants of Lindoso. This village also has a valuable built heritage that includes a pillory, community wards, a medieval bridge, water mills, the famous gathering of granaries, among others.

And it was the gathering of granaries that drew my attention to visit Lindoso. I was accustomed to seeing granaries as far as I remember, at the house of my maternal grandparents in the village of Covas, 20 km from Vila Nova de Cerveira and Valença, which aroused my curiosity and made me have to make a mandatory stop on my last visit by the Peneda-Gerês National Park.

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The Castle of Lindoso is one of the most important Portuguese military monuments, due to its strategic location on the Lima river, and its border position with Spain, being the result of a military investment of the reign of D. Afonso III as an important piece in the defense of the border.

Never assuming residential functions, but only military ones, the Castle was occupied occasionally, especially in periods of regional or national conflicts. From the medieval fortification stands its tower to the line of the wall, located in the opposite side to the main door, and the branches of bushes, strategically mounted in the corners and angles.

The Castle was still subject of deep reformulation in the century. XVII, in the ambit of the Restoration Wars, adapting itself to an artillery war. The defense was reinforced by the construction of a ramparted wall, of a generically polygonal plan of the type Vauban, with the angles advanced and protected by cannons. The main door was also opened in the opposite direction to medieval fortification.

The entrance to the Castle of Lindoso, now classified as a National Monument, is free, and it is possible to have a privileged view of the surrounding landscape, which includes the Lindoso dam.

Worthy of a closer look, perhaps because it is not normal, is the set of granaries of the village.

There are more than 50 specimens in excellent condition, from the 18th and 19th centuries, which are still used today for drying cereals. In Minho it is very easy to see granaries, but maybe not in as much quantity as in Lindoso. And it was this rare beauty that aroused my curiosity.

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From the Castle, you can have a wide view of the place, but do not miss the opportunity to also walk through the middle of the granary as if it were a maze.

A granary, or a canastra, as it was also called in the village of my maternal grandparents, is a structure usually built of stone and wood or brick, with the function of drying the coarse corn through the lateral cracks, and at the same time preventing the destruction of the corn by rodents due to their elevation of the soil. As maize is harvested in the autumn, it must be as airy as possible to dry in a season as bad as winter.

In the village, you will also find several typical granite houses that still resist, and many of them have been recovered which invite you to stay in a tourist format in the Alto Minho.

Finally, and for those who like to try the local gastronomy, you can delight in the potatoes of sarrabulho, rojões, lamprey, trout, sausages and ham, green wine and honey.

Peneda-Gerês National Park: Village of Lindoso Location

Google Maps Coordinates: 41.866283, -8.199612 | open Google Maps
GPS Coordinates: 41°51’58.6″N 8°11’58.6″W

This post was translated with the help of Google Translator.

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