Welcome to the living museum. Explore the history and the architectural heritage of the village enjoy the vast panorama and the rich natural habitat along the way.
Proud of their origins, the villagers have fulfilled their dream of honouring the land where they were born. And thus the museum was born. A living space, where the history of these people connected to the land and the sea meets the singularity of the local nature.
Come and explore the identity of the village with “Jonas the whale”, through a path of contrasts, among different artefacts and ways of living.
It is a testimony of its people to other people. It is a trip to the memory of men and women - farmers, fishermen, shellfish - and their traditional activities, following a course of contrasts, between artifacts and diverse experiences. Conceived and built on the idea, effort and will of its residents, Museu do Mar e da Terra da Carrapateira, in the Municipality of Aljezur, genuinely reveals the identity of its inhabitants, their customs and customs and traditions, at the same time that it values and integrates the natural heritage of Carrapateira, born between cliffs and cliffs in the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.
Photographs, historical documents, documentaries, testimonies, objects and other artifacts are the bridges that allow us to know the way of life of these inhabitants, brave and brave people, always attached to the land and the sea. The exhibit is the result of several years of ethnographic research that was attended by the local population. Belonging to a new generation of community-oriented museums, this is a cultural space that focuses on local development.
The permanent exhibition "The ocean, our land" begins by characterizing the natural environment of Carrapateira. Through the lively reproduction of the seabed and the environmental reconstruction of the coastal flora, the museum aims to promote local natural resources, to value and show the geological heritage, fossils, floras and faunas marine and terrestrial, also presenting as a complementary element tourism offer.
Then, through documents and photographs, the day-to-day life of the village is drawn from the passage of the Arab peoples who lived here - the first Berber nucleus - to this day. The inhabitants have always shared the daily toil between agriculture and fishing. Until the 40s and 50s of the 20th century, agriculture was the main source of income for families. Almost all the families had a little earth, where they cultivated their gardens, they planted the vineyards where they took the wine, they made bread and honey. But since the 1950s, agriculture has experienced a time of recession and the population, in order to cope with the difficulties, has turned more to fishing and catching shellfish, which until then were only seen as complementary activities and
subsidiaries. This evolution can be accompanied by the objects exhibited, from tools to work the land, such as plows, scythes, plows pulled by livestock, to fishing nets, amphorae and hooks. Today, fishing and shellfish harvesting are important sources of income, although tourism also begins to weigh on the local economy.
The route ends with an absolutely unforgettable panoramic view over the village, the cliffs and the ocean.
Jonas - a character inspired by the true 7-meter dwarf whale that he gave to the shore of Vale Figueira Beach in 1992 - is who guides visitors along this ethnographic journey. Legend has it that Jonas lost his life in the sands of the Aljezur coast because he wanted to know the natural beauty of Carrapateira. This mythical cetacean represents the dream of the inhabitants of wanting to pay homage to the bravery of the men and women of the village and the land that saw them born.
Museu do Mar e da Terra da Carrapateira was inaugurated in May 2008. In that same year, it received an Honorable Mention, in the category of New Public Project, within the ambit of the Tourism Awards of Portugal.
The white houses of the Carrapateira village sprawl harmoniously along the foot of the hill, resisting the strong winds from the Costa Vicentina, while the steep and narrow streets pave the way for various adventures and experiences. Come visit the market and try the traditional products, discover the church and explore the fortress that protected this village from the attacks by Moroccan corsairs in the 17th century.
The Carrapateira Village grew on top of a hill, to the taste of the steep terrain, half walls with the coastal coast to the southwest, in the Municipality of Aljezur. Between cliffs and dunes, wild and wet stops, strong winds and a violent sea that whips slippery cliffs, the inhabitants of this village soon learned to adapt to the difficult natural conditions of the region.
They built earthy houses, immaculately white, glued to one another and erected in mud, with roofs of a single water - this last characteristic is an inheritance of the people of the North of Africa when they inhabited and that used this technique of construction. In fact, it was the Arab period, between the VIII and XIII centuries, that influenced the history and way of life of the inhabitants of Carrapateira, although archaeological finds attest to the presence of man in the period of the Old or Middle Palaeolithic in this area. Also given are certain Celtic and Roman presences, as well as that of Phoenicians and Greeks who will have used the Ribeira da Carrapateira as an anchorage for boats.
Today, Carrapateira is more than a village of farmers and fishermen, simple people who love the land where they were born. It is also a village frequented by nature lovers, sports radicals, such as surfing and kitesurfing, that seek out the local beaches with excellent conditions to practice these modalities. This cross between visitors and residents impresses
a "cosmopolitan" touch to the village that manifests itself with more visibility in Largo do Comércio.
LARGO DO COMÉRCIO
It is the meeting point of the inhabitants, where collective and social life takes place, it is also here that are the handicraft shops, cafes, snack houses and the traditional municipal market. It is an ample space, much appreciated by the inhabitants, where they can do their shopping, buy the newspaper or take a walking tour. Occasionally there are variety shows and other parties. It is the place of election for public amusements, for the carrying out of processions and other events. On hot nights, the wide is the privileged space for socializing. From the Largo do Comércio, there are streets that allow visitors to get to know the rest of the town, as well as the Museu do Mar e da Terra - museum space that preserves the local identity - located at the top of the village is a veritable lookout over the Atlantic and dune landscape. The urban nucleus also houses the Church and the fortress of Carrapateira, testimonies of the history of the village.
From the Church of Our Lady of the Conception to the Fortress Standing on the top of a hill, from where you can see the coast, the Church of Carrapateira is surrounded by some mystery, because essential information is not known. The date of its construction is not known, but some investigations indicate that the temple was built during the first half of the XVI century. The service is addressed to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Patroness of the Kingdom of Portugal since 1325, the Virgin was crowned queen by King D. João IV, in 1646, after the restoration of independence. The inhabitants of the village ask for protection, especially the fishermen who direct their prayers when they go to work and have than face a rough sea.
The pure and minimalist façade of the church and the two Manueline doors, made of carved stonework, are an invitation to its interior of a single nave, where stand an altar in gilded carving of the Baroque period and two tables XVII thinian, currently placed in the frontal wall of white masonry, which represent Santo António de Lisboa and São Pedro. According to the historian Vítor Serrão, it is probable that these works left the same workshop, possibly located in Lagos, where some Mannerist painting workshops operated, around 1570. Although the authorship of the paintings is unknown, there are indications that he was also the author of the two tablets of the Igreja Matriz de Vila do Bispo, a practitioner of the oil modality, which belonged to the first generation of Portuguese mannerist painting. The hexagonal baptismal font, of yellowish limestone, is another remarkable element of the Manueline period. On the right side of the main facade of the church there is also a simple bell tower with a small English bell, which reads in large letters the word "WAIMATE".
It is believed to be a reference to the SS Waimate (1896-1925), which was shipwrecked five miles off the charcoal-laden Cape St. Vincent while on a voyage from Clyde, a city in the US state of North Carolina. Genoa in June 1925. It is very likely that the bell was rescued and placed in the steeple to meet the religious purposes.
Because it was between two very easy to reach beaches, Amado, Sul, and Bordeira, north, the Aldeia da Carrapateira was exposed to attacks by corsairs and Moroccan pirates who plundered the village, their houses - still today the houses preserve inside them the secret passages that the inhabitants used to flee from the fearful Moroccan corsairs that attacked the Vincentian coastal coast - they desecrated the church, they pile the sacred relics and they captured the inhabitants. Faced with this situation of permanent terror the inhabitants of Carrapateira asked for protection to the monarch. His entreaties were attended by the court in 1673, by D. Nuno da Cunha and Ataíde. Sensitive to the terror of the population, the Count of Pontével and Governor of the Kingdom of the Algarve had a fort built with a four-pointed star shape around the church for the purpose of military defense. The fortress was built 1,200 meters from the beach on the head of the Carrapateira, with a height of 70 meters. It had reentrant angles, and at each end were six pieces of fire and eleven soldiers. It is said that after the construction of the fort, neither the church nor the population were again attacked by pirates. Over the years, the fortress has been gradually deteriorating. Currently, it does not display the trace and extension and only a part is part of the initial construction.
EVOLUTION OF THE PARISH
The date of creation of the parish of Carrapateira is not known. Throughout the nineteenth century, it belonged several times to both the municipality of Vila do Bispo and Aljezur. It was only in 1898 that it finally became part of the municipality of Aljezur, part of the Bordeira parish. In the 1960s, in the midst of Estado Novo, Carrapateira witnessed the emigration of its inhabitants. After the Revolution of 25 April 1974, there was a qualitative evolution in the way of life of the population: in addition to the electrification of the village, there was a significant improvement of the water and sewage network, as well as the construction of collective infrastructures, namely the public washing machine and public telephone. Today, with around 200 inhabitants, Carrapateira opens its arms to those who want to visit it, offering nature tourism and gastronomic, ethnographic and architectural heritage that deserve to be known.
With a vast sandy area of harmonious shapes, extending over 3 Km, and dunes covered with small vegetation, the Praia da Bordeira beach is crossed by a stream that meanders its way to its mouth. Take part in this scenery and walk along the golden sands, watch the ospreys flying and the otters playing on the banks of the stream.
It is an immense dune. It is an area that is lost sight of, cut by a line of water that snakes to the sea and gives water to the gliding birds. It is pure nature. The Praia da Bordeira beach, north of Pontal da Carrapateira, is the most extensive of the municipality of Aljezur, with a sandy area of about 3 km, rich in landscaping, with its cliffs, dunes and estuary. An inspiring place where you can feel the infinite generosity of nature. It is on foot, calmly strolling along the seafront, that one can best discover this immense beach almost deserted, where the only appeals are the contemplation of the waves, the breeze that refreshes the skin, the sea, the flight of the fishing birds. The dune fields, which result from the strong north-west quadrant winds, are in constant and move to the doors of the Aldeia da Carrapateira, providing different several species of shrubs that develop there and that contribute to the fixation of the sands. At The cliffs of Praia da Bordeira beach, of calcareous nature, are much sought after by several seabirds, such as the eagle-fishermen, who find refuge here. Cut by Ribeira da Bordeira, a line of water that forms a pond of warm water near the it is
often possible to spot otters splashing in the water. When the sea is angry or the tide is full, it can be used as a river beach by vacationing families. There are archeological vestiges that prove that in times the river was used as a third-building where the boats are kept - by Phoenicians, Greeks, Celts and Romans when they passed through this region, and also as a facilitator of access to the shipyard that existed in the estuary of Ribeira da Carrapateira, during the time of the Maritime Discoveries. Previously, on Sundays, entire families were picnicking on this beach and picking up rocks The bath of August 29, an old tradition with much expression in the region, was a moment of sociability, enjoyed by the entire population. It was believed that on this day the water was holy. Hence men, women, children went to baths. Not even the animals escaped that were wetted by the owners. Today, lovers of water sports, such as kitesurfers, look for this beach a lot, because of the intensity of the prevailing winds and wave formation.
The Costa Vicentina is known for the crucial role it played during the 15th century – the dawn of the Portuguese Discoveries – but also for hosting shipwrecked treasures, such as the ship of the Spanish armada “La Condesa”. Dive into this mystery and find this and other treasures lying at the bottom of the sea.
The Costa Vicentina and the Discoveries
If the Costa Vicentina stands out for storing wrecked treasures in its depths, its importance increases when it comes to the fundamental role it played during the fifteenth century, the dawn of the Maritime Discoveries. Portuguese navigators launched into the sea. They set out from the extreme south-west of Portugal, rounded the African continent and reached the long-desired East Indies, venturing beyond the limits of the known world.
From the fifteenth century, Portugal embarked on the great adventure of maritime expansion, in the conquest of new commercial markets and sources of income, under the shrewd leadership of Infante D. Henrique (1394-1460), the first great impeller of the Discoveries.
It was the infant who transformed the maritime activity of the Order of Christ - purely military - into a scientific research, which unreservedly supported the scientific-technological research that led to progress in the field of navigation; He encouraged the development of navigational instruments such as the nautical astrolabe and quadrant and the elaboration of more rigorous charts; He hired cosmographers, geographers, cartographers and sailors to deepen the knowledge that would make navigating the mysterious oceans safer.
But if D. Henrique was the human protagonist of this epic, the Algarve was the geographical space of reference for its success. The Infante chose the southwest coast of Algarve as a base to support the national design of discovering more world. It soon became apparent that the geographical proximity to Andalusia, the Mediterranean
and the Atlantic, allowed the Algarve to enjoy a privileged location to maritime commerce and long-distance travel. From its ports - Sagres, Lagos, Faro, Portimão - departed the first expeditions that fanned the mysterious west coast of Africa. It was a real bustle that lived on the southwest coast, with ships and caravels crossing each other, accentuated also by the existence of a third-storey building where the boats are kept-in the Ribeira da Carrapateira estuary.
To the dynamism of the Infante, the courage of the Portuguese joined the north and south of the kingdom to the sea to unravel an unknown path to the East. The main purpose was to find an alternative route to that of the Arab traders who controlled the monopoly of the spices through the terrestrial routes, and later sold the merchandise at astronomical prices on the Mediterranean coast. The Portuguese crown had no difficulty in recruiting crew members for the expeditions, since it benefited from the permanent animosity that encouraged the Portuguese to fight the infidels. So on board the ships they followed soldiers, officials of the kingdom, farmers, sailors, merchants and religious, the latter in charge of expanding the Christian faith.
After the conquest of Ceuta (1415) and discovered the Atlantic islands - Madeira (1419) and Azores (1427), the expeditions were advancing cautiously. In 1434, the Algarvian navigator Gil Eanes doubles Cape Bojador, proving that there was more African coast to the south besides the well-known one. As they progressed, the Portuguese explorers founded commercial warehouses. The most coveted trade was slaves, gold, ivory, sugar cane and malagueta that filled the markets of Lagos and Lisbon.
In a short time, the Maritime Discoveries became an authentic national profitable enterprise, becoming the financial support of the Portuguese crown.
Even after the death of Prince Henry, progress continued until the first half of the sixteenth century. Bartolomeu Dias doubles the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 and, a decade later, Vasco da Gama arrives in India, enabling the Portuguese to participate in the desired spice trade. With this trip, the Portuguese managed to put an end to the Arab monopoly in the East, increasing their own wealth, power and contributing to the revitalization of Europe's economy.
THE WRECK OF LA CONDESA
On a stormy morning in 1555 off Praia da Bordeira beach, the furious and violent waves whipped without mercy the ship "La Condesa", coming from the West Indies. The "La Condesa" belonged to the Spanish armada and had left Puerto Rico in the direction of Seville, loaded with gold, silver, pedrarias and bronze armament. Despite the technical preparation of the navigators, the fragility of the ships and the strong and sharp winds were the perfect combination to give the tragedy. Faced with the fury of nature, the Spanish galle ended up bumping against a rock, shattering and disappearing in the depths of these waters.
Commanded by Martin Alterco, the ship was part of a fleet of three ships - La Condesa, San Salvador and Santa Catalina - from the Gonzalo Carvajal fleet and was to take Spain, to King Carlos I, the riches embarked in Panama a few months earlier.
When they left the Caribbean Sea in August 1555, the crew of the ships under the command of Gonzalo Carvajal managed to avoid confrontations with the fearsome French sea pirates who infested the Atlantic and who would already have been warned about such wealth on board the vessels. But the violence of storms and the fury of the sea are harder to overcome. When it sailed to 40 leagues of the coast of the Azores (about 200 km), the fleet was hit by a strong temporal. Santa Catalina separated from the other two ships, but the effort and the skill of Gregorio de Renteria sent the ship off Lisbon with crew and cargo safely in mid-December. The treasure on board went to Seville by land, in a bullring. Less luck had the crew of the other two ships. Fired by time at 390 leagues from the Portuguese coast, they eventually wrecked. San Salvador sank off of Buarcos, in Figueira da Foz.
Some 100 people died, including Gonzalo Carvajal. La Condesa struck a rock today known as the Galé Stone, and sank off the Carrapateira. With it disappeared all the estate and crew, except for a carpenter who survived to tell the story.
This mysterious shipwreck has aroused the curiosity of national and foreign investigators who insist on finding the wreck of the ship. In 1991, two Portuguese divers - Vítor Cruz and Aníbal Campos - discovered 50 bronze cannons, and a year later the French archaeologist Jean-Yves Blot detected 20 falconetes. After a series of investigations carried out by the National Center of Nautical and Underwater Archeology (CNANS), it is practically certain that the pieces of artillery belong to the Spanish ship wrecked in the 16th century.
The treasure, of great historical and cultural value, is considered by some researchers as the greatest underwater archaeological discovery in Portugal, relative to the period of the Maritime Discoveries. The findings of extreme importance remain at the bottom of the sea, but are expected to one day be rescued and brought to the surface, so that they are known and appreciated by all.
The "La Condesa" is just one of the ships that remain on the seabed of the Costa Vicentina. Just like it was several of the ships that wrecked here, presenting this site with a high archaeological potential. It is believed that the English bell with the inscription "WAIMATE", existing in the steeple of the Church of the Carrapateira, belonged to the ship "SS Waimate" (1896-1925) that shipwrecked five miles off the Cape of Saint Vincent in June of 1925.
Look to the horizon and find the Pedra da Galé. Shellfish gatherers claim that this is where the best and largest goose neck barnacles hide. Now look at the ground.
There is history beneath your feet! Embedded in the rocks of these cliffs, thousands of fragments of corals and other small invertebrates, such as starfish and sea urchins hide thousand-year-old secrets!
THE PEDRA DA GALÉ
Pedra da Galé is the place of choice for the fishermen of Carrapateira. "It is that stone and not another," say the men of the village, although there are many other rocks. They say that it is also on this rock that the best barnacles hide.
But the fame of Pedra da Galé comes from many centuries ago. It was just an imposing rock that rose off the Carrapateira in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, when the Spanish galley "La Condesa", coming from the West Indies and being adrift due to a strong storm crashed into it. The ship smashed, sank, and with it disappeared all the spoil consisting of gold, silver, stones and bronze artillery. It was the year 1555. Since then, the rock is known as the Pedra da Galé.
As it is a rocky bottom, abundant in crustaceans, it is one of the favorite areas of local artisanal fishermen. The harvesting of shellfish, especially that of the percebe, is an activity with a great economic and social impact for the communities of the Southwest Alentejo Coast and the Costa Vicentina. The picking of barnacles is extremely dangerous. The fishermen descend the abrupt cliffs, they climb by the force of arms the safety ropes that another companion - that stays in the top of the up - has under eye, at the same time that fight against the force of the waters revolts. The secrets of this art pass from generation to generation, being a traditional activity that counts on the same tools of old. The perceivers or fishermen catch this crustacean with the help of a girdle - an instrument made of a wooden handle, with an iron tip that separates the percebe from the rock - and a post or net bag. The percebe, scientific name pollicipes, is morphologically constituted by an upper part - the chapter or nail - and a lower part - the peduncle. It is a hermaphrodite being, incubating the eggs in its interior until the larva hatch.
Safeguard the season of the closed, the catch of perceive is done when the sea leaves. In winter, the day when shellfish threw themselves into the sea and rocks, but in summer almost every day is good for this activity
Being one of the largest gastronomic delicacies in the region, along with the lapas, burgaus, mussels, fried morays, navalheiras and choco fried, the local restaurants - from the most modest to the best known - serve this famous snack with intense sea flavor. What the fossils say about the Earth But if living crustaceans make the delights of local gastronomy, there are also corals, marine animals, bivalves, mollusks, shells and sea urchins sedimented in the high cliffs of Pontal da Carrapateira and which due to the erosion of the wind are now exposed. Embedded in sedimentary rocks, fossils prove that, in times prior to Man's existence, Planet Earth was populated by species of animals and plants now extinct.
The information gathered in the fossiliferous deposits allow us to gauge the richness of biodiversity and to understand the history of Life. The fossil is the rest of an organism, or traces of its activity, that lived at a certain moment in Earth's history and that is preserved in the strata of the sedimentary rocks. The evolution of life on Earth can be deciphered through the study of fossils, and Paleontology is the natural science that deals with this study.
It all began many millions of years ago, even before the Jurassic period, when Carrapateira was an island with a coral coast. During the Paleozoic Era (between 540 million years and 250 million years ago), at a time when there were two supercontinents, Portugal was part of the Southern Hemisphere and much of our territory was covered by water. During this period, fine sediments were deposited on the sea floor, which are now transformed into shales and gradevaques. After that, many other natural phenomena occurred. The two continents collided into one giant continent, Pangeia, and the sea receded. And new changes occurred. The giant continent fragmented, the sea returned to the coast and other sediments returned to be deposited and settled. Changes in sea level are directly related to the climate changes that the Earth has undergone over the last few thousand years.
During the Jurassic (between 199 and 155 million years ago) and Cretaceous (between 145 and 65 million years ago), the region that corresponds to the Algarve was already in the Northern Hemisphere, had a warmer, wetter climate and was closer of Ecuador. Hence the fossils found in this area are similar to those found in the current tropical seas.
There are studies that show that sediments of Jurassic age are well represented in the Mesozoic outcrop of Carrapateira, constituted by more than 3000 meters of essentially marine sediments. The Three Angles Bay corresponds to a coastal strip formed by the cliffs of Pontal da Carrapateira, and comprises a sedimentary sequence consisting of marl and limestone, during the Upper Jurassic, based on macrofauna, mainly of corals.
Resting on the rocky scarps, the old fishing port is a place of history, adventures and memories of the local fishermen. Built on the southern slope of the Carrapateira headland, it protected the ships from the Northwest winds and it is one of the oldest ports in the municipality. But did you know the history of this port began with a simple juniper root?
Built on rocky cliffs, Zimbreirinha's old fishing port is a place of stories, adventures and memories of local fishermen. Facing south, this small, rocky cove of Pontal da Carrapateira protected the boats from the Northeastern. In spite of the adverse conditions of access, via land, the cove, the knowledge and the experience led the men of the village to choose this place to keep their boats because that was what guaranteed better conditions of safety for the access of the boats to the sea and of approach the land. In this way, they created a ramp on a stilt over the concavity of the rock, through which they slipped the boats to the sea and the waters to land. These ingenious wooden platforms and reeds supported on the upstairs served to protect the boats from the sea's fury and the anchorage is one of the oldest fishing ports of the county.
Until the 1950s, fishing was an activity complementary to agriculture and self-consumption. Some poorer families, with no money to have a garden, dedicated themselves to fishing, exchanging the fish for some agricultural products. But as agriculture experienced a time of recession, the population, in order to face the difficulties, turned more to fishing and catching shellfish. Many men have risked their lives to support the family, for here nature is imposing and threatening. It does not spare even the most alert, experienced, wise, or courageous, much less the unwary. Many fishermen saw their workmates lose their lives. Loaded with their handicrafts - nets, hooks, lines - the fishermen descended the abrupt cliffs by force of arms, bound to a rope, which in turn was tied to a zimbreiro root, a small, hardy shrub born in the aridity and roughness of the soil of this region. Down below, where the strength of the unruly waters is felt, they inlaid cliffs, rocks, and cliffs, most often submerged by the white foam of the surf. With the aid of his girders, an instrument made of a wooden handle and with an iron tip, they pulled the barnacles
out of the rocks. In the time of the closure of the percebe, they dedicated themselves to the harvest of other species like the limpets, the mussels, navalheiras and octopuses. At other times they would take their small boats and fish for sea bass, gilthead, eel, and sea bream. When the fishing day was over, the men would climb back up the cliff, climbing the ropes up the cliffs and heavy cargo on their backs. It was then transported in a bullring to be sold in the nearest villages.
Porto of many mirages, of contemplation of the exuberant landscape, the Porto da Zimbreirinha also served as shelter for the fishermen that in time of work, they stayed overnight in the holes of the rock, without going home.
Later on, at the top of the top, a few thatched houses were built facing the sea and that served as a warehouse for fishermen. They were called "stromas" (carpets).
The exact age of the port is unknown, however, it is known that this port has more than 100 years, even served as anchoring of caravels that landed there to take the mills to the mills of the village.
The port was closed on May 4, 2010, after a landslide caused by the torrential rains of February 28 of that year, destroying its structure. The fishermen started to use Portinho do Forno to keep their boats. Today, fishing and shellfish harvesting are important sources of income, although tourism also begins to add value to the local economy.
Do you know what pre-historic men ate? Exactly the same we eat today. The shells found on the ground reveal that the first coastal communities ate oysters, cockles and other molluscs. But the mollusc shells were used for something else. Do you know what it was?
"Large concheiro at the mouth of Ribeira da Carrapateira or Praia da Bordeira beach. This concheiro located initially just north of the beach access walkway extends to the tip of the rock that falls abruptly into the sea. Several ceramic fragments and two small mesh weights were collected in grade. No burgaus were found, but turtle-shaped shells were found in one place, which were found in no other concheiro." The description of this finding of concheiro, dated 2003, is one among many of the archaeological discoveries carried out by the Association of Defense of the Historical and Archaeological Heritage of Aljezur.
Conchers are traces of seasonal encampments left by the prehistoric communities of the Mesolithic period (from 8,500 BC to 5,500 BC) when they are no longer full-time nomaders and seek to secure themselves, at least in summer, near the sea and riverbanks.
They were small communities of hunter-gatherers who hunted and fished, but made mollusks their main subsistence activity. The maritime environment of
Costa Vicentina was one of its favorite habitats, where fish, crustaceans and shells abounded. Sea resources have become an essential part of the diet of these Mesolithic populations. In order to fish and harvest the molluscs, they also developed different artefacts, such as fishing hooks and fishing nets and harpoons.
However, if the shellfish served as a sort of trash can to which the shells of the mollusks were thrown, they were also used as necropolis and places of ritualization. The shells served as funeral offerings assuming a symbolic and mystical value.
During the funeral ritual, the dead were carefully placed on the grave in dorsal decubitus, semi-legged legs and arms crossed over the abdomen in a shell position, then sprinkled and adorned with necklaces made of small shells and shells of mollusks.
Struck by the sea and the dryness of the wind, the Carrapateira headland is made up of abrupt cliffs with great geological value. Walk and enjoy the beauty of this “geomonument”, comprised of a variety of limestone, schist and quartzite rocks, which tells the story of the Earth.
The history of the Earth is written on the rocks. Through them, minerals and fossils or, in other words, through Geology we can know much of the history of our Planet, which was not always as we know it today.
Geology is the branch of the natural sciences that deals with the study of the Earth. Rocks, water, air, and all living things are part of a long and complex evolution of the planet that counts about four thousand five hundred and seventy million years. It is a story made of events, sometimes rapid and of extraordinary violence, like volcanic activity, sometimes slow and extremely calm, like erosion.
As the Earth is a geologically active planet, rocks are associations of minerals that have formed under certain pressure and temperature conditions and which are continually altered by various environmental phenomena such as water action, the action of living beings or erosive action water and wind. Throughout the time a set of geological processes occurred that are manifested in an extraordinary variety of rocks found in the region of the Portuguese southwest. The coast of the Costa Vicentina is essentially rocky, marked by steep cliffs or cliffs overlooking the sea. These cliffs account for about 150 million years, have little vegetation cover, and are very fractured due to the movements of tectonic plates.
To better understand the Earth's evolution, it was agreed to divide Earth's history into a Geological Time Scale. Thus, the cliffs of the Costa Vicentina correspond to the Paleozoic Ages (Between 540 million years to 250 million years ago) and Mesozoic (Between 250 and 65 million years ago) covering the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
The surface of Pontal da Carrapateira - which begins at the southern end of Praia da Bordeira beach and ends at the north side of Praia do Amado beach - is formed by dolomitic limestones, dolomites, shale and fossiliferous marls. The high and rocky coastline is punctuated by small beaches, protected by dune systems, or by more arid cliffs. The rocks of Praia do Amado beach are constituted by the sandstones of Silves, which result from the consolidation of sands, and with a large predominance of a mineral, quartz. These sandstones are clearly of continental origin and were brought to the site by courses of fluvial waters.
From the middle of the beach to the south end, the Paleozoic Era, consisting of schist, grauvaques and siltitos, begins to appear. The siltstones have a dark gray to black color, laminates, and have a varied mineralogical composition.
Many millions of years ago, this entire region was closer to the equator than it is today. Sea and surface temperatures were higher than today and in what we now call Carrapateira there would be a tropical coastal zone with an adjacent coral reef. Since the Earth is a living fabric, constantly changing, much has changed from this then. Thanks to the rocks and fossils sedimented in the rocks, man can understand his own history, where he came from and where he goes.
There are red, green and brown seaweeds. There are invertebrates of all shapes, colours and sizes, fish and mammals. There are Atlantic, rupicolous and mountain plants.
And there are cormorants that land on the cliffs, and white storks that build their nests on rocks in the high sea. All of these are only a small part of our immense ecosystem, because there are many other secrets to unveil!
WILDLIFE AND FLORA
The Costa Litoral Vicentina has a valuable marine ecosystem, with a variety of living beings, habitats and life forms so complex that are beyond our imagination. This high biodiversity is related to the different funds and the encounter of influences of the waters of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Atlantic.
Rocky bottoms, bays and lagoon systems are excellent habitats for many marine species to grow and reproduce. They also provide shelter and food. All these elements translate into a great variety of marine flora and fauna.
The marine flora of the West Coast is dominated by species of red algae, such as Lithophyllum, Greens, Codium and Enteromorpha, and brown algae. Macroalgae, together with phytoplankton, are photosynthetic
plants that consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, are at the base of the food chain and serve as food for fish, molluscs, sponges, etc. Seaweed is visible at low tide and displays a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
The biodiversity of marine communities is rich, with dozens of invertebrates being identified. These animals live on the ground, on sandy or rocky bottoms. The most explored marine invertebrates on the rocky coast are the barnacles Pollicipes pollicipes, the Palinurus elephas lobster, the Charonia lampas, the Ranella gigantea, Octopus vulgaris octopus, crabs, slashed Maja squinola, naval Eriphia verrucosa, the lobster Homarus gammarus, the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, the Mytilus galloprovincialis mussels, the Patella spp lapas and the Burrians Osilinus spp, Gibbula spp. Rocky outcrops are a very important habitat for feeding fish, such as capes, sparrows and snails, and serve as a hiding place and ambush area for certain predatory molluscs such as octopus vulgaris octopus and cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Around the cliffs there is also an abundance of schools of sea breams, snails and sea bass that delight the fishermen. At the bottom of the sandy beaches, stars and sea cucumbers can be seen. The rocky bottoms allow a variety of habitats, consisting of species of animals such as the Epiphenelus marginatus, the seahorses Hippocampus hippocampus and H. guttulatus, migrating fish such as the eel Anguilla anguilla and shadow Alosa alos.
As for the aquatic fauna, lagoon / riverine systems, such as the Ribeira da Carrapateira, show a diverse community of amphibians, emphasizing the presence of the salamander-of-ribs-protruding, from the toad Bufo bufo, the black-headed toad Pelobates cultripes and the green-toed warbler Pelodytes punctatus.
Currently, the most vulnerable species are the very Epiphenelus marginatus, the seahorses Hippocampus hippocampus and H. guttulatus, migratory fish such as the Anguilla anguilla eel and the Alosa alosa shad, as well as the Cape - Gobius spp. Parablennius spp. and Lipophrys sppmas.
TERRESTRIAL FLORA AND FAUNA
Situated on the coastline of the Costa Vicentina, Pontal da Carrapateira has an important ecosystem and a rich diversity of terrestrial flora and fauna. Its natural habitats are of great ecological value, standing
out the cliffs, the coastal plateau and the mountain ravines. There is a mixture of Mediterranean and Atlantic vegetation, with predominance for the first. In areas of rock outcrop, exposed to the sea, given the harsh conditions, the vegetation is small. In the rocky promontories, the soil is colonized by perennial shrubs and rupicolous plants and the dune vegetation is well preserved. There are endemic or exclusive plants of this region, such as Biscutella vicentina, Scilla vicentina, Centaurea, Vicentina, Diplotaxis, Vicentina, Hyacinthoides, Vicentina, Cistus palhinhae, Plantago almogravensis, and other species considered rare, such as Samouco Myrica faya, Sorveira Sorbus domestic and Silene rotlunaleri.
Being an area of sea cliffs is an exceptional place for birdlife, very favorable to the nesting of various birds. Thus, the presence of several preys such as the Peneireiro-das-torres, the Eagle-fisher and the Peregrine Falcon that use the concavities of the cliffs and ancient nests of other species to nest. The numerous escarpments are also the nesting habitat for corvids and ardeidae, notably the Red-necked Crow Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax and Egretta garzetta. This area is home to the world's only white Stork Ciconia ciconia nesting on rocks and coastal cliffs. The cliffs are also used as nesting grounds by the Apus melba Royal Swallow and by passerines such as the Black-crowned Monticola solitarius and the Black-crowned Phoenicurus ochruros.
Birds from the African-European migratory platform, such as Luscinia svecica, the black fly fly Ficedula hypoleuca, the common blackberry Sylvia communis, the alcatraz Sula bassana, the tern Sterna hirundo, the hawk eagle Hieraaetus pennatus and, occasionally, the Falco eleonorae or the buteo buteo buteo rufinus, among many others. The coastal strip adjacent to the coast is covered by thousands of seabirds, notably Alcatrazes Morus bassanus, Fura-buchos Puffinus mauritanicus, Cagarras Calonectris diomedea, Minerals Stercorarius parasiticus, Alcaides Stercorarius skua, Garajaus Sterna sandvicensis, Terns Sterna hirundo and Tordas thieves.
It is possible to find Lutra lutra otters that use the marine habitat, sheltering in the maritime cliffs and adjacent ravines, as well as badgers Meles meles that excavate burrows in the cliffs, drainage Herpestes ichneumon and fuínhas Martes foina. The existence of caves makes the bats community also extremely diverse. Among the reptiles are, for example, the snake-pruned Malpolon monspessulanus and the cobra-lisa-bordalesa Coronella girondica.
Traces of a 12th century village of Arab fishermen, who fished and gathered shellfish seasonally.
Did you know that during the Islamic occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, Christians and Moors weren’t always enemies? There was a connection between the two peoples, who mixed their habits and customs peacefully and spontaneously.
On this steep cliff of honey-colored limestone overlooking the Atlantic surf are traces of a small, probably seasonal, 12th-century Arab fishing village dedicated to the exploitation of marine resources.
After several works of archaeological intervention, 14 housing structures were discovered, constituted by a single division, with rectangular plan, built in taipa on stone foundations. Among the estates were ceramics of common use (bowls, jugs, pots and pans), iron hooks, net weights and remains of marine and terrestrial fauna.
The exploration of marine resources was a seasonal activity, depending on the seasons, complementary to agriculture - a legacy that lasted for a long time, since the inhabitants of the Algarve coast made the marine agricultural economy their livelihood, still frequent in the last century.
When the sea and time permitted, the main source of food for the Arabs was fish and shellfish, but the fish, after salting and dry, could enter the commercial circuits, serving as a barter with products different from other regions of the interior , such as cereals.
In one of the habitation zones a whale bone was found with about half a meter of long, probably used as a bank, and which will have been caught during fishing for that cetacean, now disappeared from the Algarve seas, but abundant in the Garb al-Andalus era.
The Islamic influence in Europe was especially felt in the Iberian Peninsula, as the Moors of North Africa had
conquered regions of Portugal and Spain between the 8th and 13th centuries. But in medieval times, not always Moors and Christians were opponents. There was a great connection between these two peoples who ended up mixing spontaneously and peacefully habits and customs. The Portuguese benefited from the great knowledge of geography, astronomy and mathematics that the Arabs, a people more evolved at the time, already had. The Arabs also left numbering, daughters-in-law, citrus fruits, as well as words beginning with al. But they left much more: the soul, the gastronomy, the singing, the passion for the arts and legends.
The whole estate of this settlement - a very important contribution to the knowledge of the life of those communities, as well as the cultural inheritance they have inherited - is exhibited in the Museum of the Sea of Earth and Carrapateira.
Nestled between cliffs, the Praia do Amado beach is synonymous with nature in its pure form. It is one of the most sought beaches by surf and bodyboard lovers. Gain the courage, dare to dive in and feel the freshness of these transparent and turbulent waters.
It is the strong winds and giant waves that make Amado one of the best Portuguese beaches for surfing. Praia do Amado beach is located near the Aldeia da Carrapateira, in the municipality of Aljezur. With an extensive beach of 1.2 km and delimited to the South and North by high cliffs that extend by the sea, it is also the stage for several national and international surf competitions.
To the north of this beach are the red and orange tones of the rocky cliffs of Pontal da Carrapateira, a platform of great environmental value, with important habitats for the conservation of nature. To the south, the landscape is very rich from the geological point of view, dominated by the gray colors of sedimentary rocks, metamorphic and of volcanic origin (schist, limestone and dolerite).
In the past, the families who lived in the village chose this beach for their weekend picnics and, on 29
August - considered a special day and a great tradition for this region - men, women, children and even animals they went to baths because it was believed that the water was holy.
Today, the beach is very frequented by water sports lovers who enjoy the excellent natural conditions of the coast. There are also several surf and bodyboarding schools that teach beginners of these modalities, with a varied offer of lessons and holiday programs. The adrenaline is always present in Praia do Amado beach, the challenge is a constant. The sea, the waves of turmoil and lovers of sport are the protagonists.