The Alentejo is home to several Neolithic and Megalithic bronze monuments, making it an archaeological site of gold.
Even if you haven’t always been fascinated by prehistory, you can’t miss a visit to Portugal’s megalithic monuments. The neighborhood that will certainly meet your expectations is Évora. In this district, several menhirs, dolmens and megalithic establishments await your visit.
Visiting the megalithic monuments is synonymous with seeing large stones that refer to the monumental architecture built by our ancestors around 6,000 to 4,000 years ago. It can be a great experience to imagine how these people lived before and began to settle in our civilization as we know it today. The first villages in Portugal were created 7,500 years ago.
After that, the population increased rapidly and fishing and hunting were not enough to feed everyone, so they started farming. The need for food production was the reason for the establishment of new settlements near rivers. In addition to flat, fertile land, the Alentejo offered the waters of the Tejo, Sado and Guadiana – making it perfect for agriculture.
Starting with the largest megalithic monument in the Iberian Peninsula, it is a must for anyone visiting this Route of Enchanted Stones. Built 7,000 years ago, it is one of the oldest in the world – even 2,000 years older than Stonehenge in the UK.
Very close to Évora, it is now possible to visit the approximately 100 monoliths present in the Cromlech des Almendres. The place is very well maintained, despite its age, thanks to some renovations and additions to the original plan.
The place, surrounded by forest, is perfect to stay for a while and enjoy the peace that can be felt there. Also, comparing with other similar places, this one is not hard to find. Just follow the road from the village of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe.
Menhir of the Almendres
It’s one of many menhirs in the area and it’s located near the last gem we listed (only about two kilometers away), suggesting they might be connected. This menhir was discovered in 1964 by an investigator. It is a unique stone site of Neolithic origin and approximately six thousand years old. It was made of granite and is about three meters high and weighs ten tons.
The upper part is decorated with some engravings of unknown significance. Nobody really knows what he symbolized for the tribe at the time. It can be the delimitation of the region or be used for mystical purposes. Moreover, local legends say that the Almendres menhir was the tomb of a Moorish princess.
Anta Grande from the Zambujeiro
These stones had a very specific use. They formed an ancient “cemetery” consisting of a dolmen between 4000 and 3500 BC. J.-C., which served in the Neolithic era as a place of entry for the dead and for worship.
Next to Valverde, this single-chambered monument was one of the largest on the Iberian Peninsula. Nowadays it is considered a heritage of national interest and a large amount of archaeological finds found during excavations can be visited in the Évora Museum.
In Portugal, this Neolithic monument is one of the most striking manifestations of the funerary practices of our oldest peasant societies. The dead were placed inside the chamber accompanied by simple offerings: polished stone tools and axes.
According to the signage of the site, this megalithic monument was probably built at the end of the Neolithic period. It is a large monument with a burial chamber and a corridor, both consisting almost entirely of a solid burial structure. It’s amazing how (thousands of years ago) our ancestors managed to move these huge stones.
Despite the lack of information on these places, the experience is worth it, as is the opportunity to let your imagination run wild with the engravings you may find along the way!