To gaze the mountains and see the puzzle of grey stone walls looking over the green meadows is the trademark of Aire and Candeeiros Mountains Natural Park
This mountainous mark owes its existence to the human need of organizing the space freeing, on one hand, the land from the rocks and, on the other hand, using that same material for limiting the properties and preventing the cattle to invade the farming lands. From this communion of wills resulted in the built heritage we can visit and appreciate today.
They go by the name of “chousos” or “cerrados”, walls of dry stone, “maroiços”, the pile of stones left from the process of removing them from the soil and “casinas”, wonderful stone houses built by the shepherds so valued and protected by the local communities nowadays.
These walls are the genesis of all the dominant architectural forms used by the peoples since Antiquity and are closely related to the economic activities existing in these territories where windmills, olive mills, and watermills still exist.
Stone is the raw material used in pens but also people’s homes which are usually modestly proportioned and contain a patio, a porch and a style that crosses generations. This stone, fuel of the local economy, brings challenges for the communities since its high commercial value has given birth to an increasing number of quarries ripping the mountains apart, leaving wounds in the name of the so-called “progress”.
The existence of Aire and Candeeiros Mountains Natural Park does not solve the issues but creates the adequate tension for us to believe we have a sustainable model before us.