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Monsanto de Idanha-a-Nova – Awe-inspiring Stone Village, Portugal

Visit Monsanto

Monsanto de Idanha-a-Nova - Awe-inspiring Stone Village, Portugal
Monsanto de Idanha-a-Nova – Awe-inspiring Stone Village, Portugal

Monsanto is a unique granite built village in the center-east part of Portugal.

Settled among huge stones on the top of the Cabeço de Monsanto hill, the village is of an incredible and unusual beauty.

Monsanto Stone Village in Portugal
Monsanto Stone Village in Portugal

The streets of Monsanto are sided with granite houses, embedded in colossal stones. We can walk up the village until we reach the castle from where we enjoy amazing views over the region all the way to the Spanish border.

House built in the stones
House built in the stones

The human presence in Monsanto dates back as early as the Lower Paleolithic (early Stone Age during the ice-ages), but the site was also inhabited by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Arabs.

The Muslim rule of Monsanto lasted until 1165 when King D. Afonso Henriques defeated them.

Consequently King D. Afonso Henriques donated Monsanto and the surrounding lands to the Order of the Knights Templar with the responsibility of repopulate and defend it.

It was during the 12th century that Monsanto castle and village were re-established and used as a main strategic defensive outpost against the Kingdom of León.

Portugal origins by date: The Foundation – year 868, Re-founding – year 1095, Sovereignty – year 1128, Established Kingdom – year 1139.

Photos of Monsanto de Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal

View of Monsanto Hill in Portugal
View of Monsanto Hill in Portugal

Monsanto village is located in Cabeço de Monsanto hill that rises up to 758 meters / 2486 feet.

Stone cross on the streets of Monsanto village
Stone cross on the streets of Monsanto village
Stone Village of Monsanto Portugal
Stone Village of Monsanto Portugal
View of Monsanto surroundings
View of Monsanto surroundings

Monsanto breathtaking views over Idanha-a-Nova municipality are impressive. We can actually see Spain on a clear day.

Monsanto from above on the way to the castle
Monsanto from above on the way to the castle
Granite stone house in Monsanto village
Granite stone house in Monsanto village
Street in Monsanto
Street in Monsanto
Handicraft inside a shop
Handicraft inside a souvenir shop
View of inside the Monsanto Castle
View of inside the Monsanto Castle

The castle of Monsanto is located on top of the hill and its defensive structure is reinforced by several square towers.

Capela de São Miguel do Castelo chapel inside the castle
Capela de São Miguel do Castelo chapel inside the castle

The Capela de São Miguel do Castelo or Chapel of Saint Michael of the Castle is a Romanesque chapel in ruins, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, located outside the Monsanto castle walls.

Monsanto stone castle
Monsanto stone castle
Inside Monsanto Castle in Portugal
Inside Monsanto Castle in Portugal
Street view
Street view

The houses in Monsanto are squeezed between enormous stones, while tiny gardens separated by stone walls carved into the living rock merge with them.

Huge stone, house and lamp
Huge stone, house and lamp

On the streets of the village there are stones larger than the houses around.

Beautiful Village in Portugal
Beautiful Village in Portugal

Houses built between giant rocks.

Monsanto Panorama
Monsanto Panorama
Igreja Matriz main church in Monsanto
Igreja Matriz main church in Monsanto

Igreja Matriz is a Baroque church dating from the year 1768. This is Monsanto’s main church.

Monsanto Welcome sign
Monsanto Welcome sign

On the sign is written: Welcome to Monsanto. The most Portuguese village of Portugal.

Monsanto village
Monsanto village
Stone houses in Monsanto
Stone houses in Monsanto
Monsanto - Portugal
Monsanto – Portugal
Capela do Espírito Santo chapel in Monsanto
Capela do Espírito Santo chapel in Monsanto

The Capela do Espírito Santo or Chapel of the Holy Spirit from the 16th century, presents a facade of Renaissance style with a small steeple.

Oranges and lemons of Monsanto
Oranges and lemons of Monsanto

There are many orange and lemon trees in Monsanto. We can easily pick some up to have a light healthy snack.

Cannon-Village-Monsanto
Cannon Square in Monsanto

Monsanto held a very important strategic location. It’s military importance was vital for the protection of the Kingdom.