Viewing Arouca.

Some weekends ago, I visited the town named Arouca, situated not far north from my base, Porto. I went prepared, of course, and the preparation was based on studying the referent pages of Saramago’s Viagem pelo Portugal (its Serbian version, that is). Saramago said it all about the Monastery of Arouca and St. Mafalda’s grave, a must-see of the place and a classified national monument, where I spent an educative morning myself.

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I got to know the town center and made a photographic record above. And then I went to a belvedere some 8 kilometers from the center, to see the entire Arouca valley and the chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Mó (Our Lady of Mill Stone).

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The view speaks for itself, but for the chapel a brief history / legend needs to be told. The building probably dates from the 16th century, and the legend goes much further in the past, refering to miraculous liberation of a local christian that was captured by a Moor somewhere in 1027. The christian was pressed with a mill stone, and that’s where the chapel’s name comes from.

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I looked at the IGESPAR’s inventories and was surprised not to find the chapel registered. Upon a little internet research, it turns out the building was not at its best and only recently repaired, with some imposing additional elements next to it.

Arouca is also famous for its geological heritage, of international relevance (more at the site of recently established geopark: http://www.geoparquearouca.com).

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José Saramago. Viagem pelo Portugal (1981)

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José Saramago. Viagem pelo Portugal (1981).

The cover of the recently translated Serbian edition, published by Laguna (Belgrade) within the collection of Saramago’s works.
The book documents months of Saramago’s travels through Portugal of 1979, often off the beaten paths. Along with the refined experience of his homeland, the travelogue marks the writer’s personal, spiritual journey. It was written after the Salazar dictatorship ended and should also understood as a way of rethinking Portuguese identity in the new socio-political context. Source: personal library, book acquired in 2012.