Its origins date back to the Palaeolithic period. In 1165 the land was conquered from the Moors and donated to the Templar Order that here built the defensive castle, under the orders of D. Gualdim Pais.
Monsanto is the perfect result of a harmonious fusion of nature and its geographic roughness with the man action throughout the centuries. This connection lead the way into curious utilizations of caves and cliffs converted into construction pieces.
Apart from the urban set and the castle, Monsanto still maintains several military and religious exemplars.
Inside the defensive walls there are two chapels, the Santiago Chapel with a lovely Romanesque Portal, facing north, and the Santa Maria do Castelo Chapel, surrounded by a cemetery.
The most important Chapel in Monsanto is, nevertheless, the Romanesque Chapel of São Miguel, nowadays in ruin. Located in between the Castle and the medieval Donjon, it is the evidence of a previous povoation (S. Miguel) and is over placed a monument that is supposed to be a cult to Mars and other pagan gods. It is also surrounded by sepulchres carved into the granite rock (an early Christian cemetery).
Next to the entrance door of Monsanto is the Santo António Chapel with a Gothic vault in the main chapel.
On the other side of the village is the lovely Espírito Santo Chapel, built in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Also quite interesting is the Misericórdia Church, with a Romanesque influence, and the Mother Church or São Salvador Church, with a 18th century façade.
In the surroundings is located the S.Pedro de Vir-a-Corça Chapel built in granite, possibly dating from the 13th century, which main element is the lovely rose window.
Nearby the Misericórdia Church is the Lucano Tower built in the 14th century, where the “Galo de Prata” (the silver rooster) was placed when Monsanto got the award of the most Portuguese of all Portuguese villages in 1938.
The main activity of this village is agriculture and also some commerce, mostly with handicraft and regional products shops as well as some restaurants.
As accommodation is concerned there is a luxury historical hotel, and also some rural tourism units.
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