9 objects with history in Macedo de Cavaleiros

From the Caretos to the beautiful Azibo reservoir, we propose a slightly different trip around Macedo de Cavaleiros. We show you the territory through nine objects and their stories told by those who know.   There are 9 objects that we chose to tell stories about Macedo de Cavaleiros and many others we could have found, but these seem to us to be the most significant: from the “fraga da pegada” to the Geopark, from São Pedro to the convent of Balsamão, passing by the inevitable caretos and other surprises, we went after those who know about the different subjects and asked them to explain us what we see. This is, therefore, an article that can also be heard. Under each photo, we have the sound of the experts.

1 – Two continents and an ocean

In the municipality of Macedo de Cavaleiros there is evidence of the existence of two continents and an ocean in only 50 kilometres. They are not visible to the unaware eye, but the specialists have no doubts. This is a very rare case and for this reason the Terras de Cavaleiros Geopark has the seal of UNESCO. Sílvia Marcos, the geopark coordinator, explains us the reason for this distinction, but the photo of the geological map of Macedo de Cavaleiros already gives us a clue.

2 – The Royal Filatory of Chacim

Can you imagine, in the middle of the 19th century, a queen giving orders to install a cutting-edge technology factory in the then far-off Trás-os-Montes? Well, that is exactly what happened with the Royal Filatory of Chacim, the silk factory that was the main employer in the region but of which only ruins now remain, as Rui Sousa, a local researcher, tells us.

3- The Caretos of Podence

The celebration

The Caretos of Podence are one of the most genuine manifestations of Portuguese tradition. Every year, during Entrudo, they walk like devils through the streets of the village of Podence rattling the unmarried women. They are already National Heritage and aspire to the category of World Heritage. António Carneiro, president of Casa do Careto, talks to us about the costume, the tradition and even about what it is like to wear a Careto costume.

4 – Saint Peter

Saint Peter

Saint Peter is the patron saint of Macedo de Cavaleiros since the Middle Ages. The first time a document mentions this connection is in the year 1290.

Nowadays, the Saint Peter’s Festivities are one of the greatest symbols of Macedo de Cavaleiros and the city is visited by foreigners from all over the world. But it wasn’t always like this…

For a few years, the major festivities in Macedo were in honour of Santa Bárbara, but Saint Peter managed to return to its rightful place.

Rui Sousa, a local researcher, explains to us its importance to the life of the municipality and tells us about a statue that today stands in the local Museum of Sacred Art and that has always been in the church tower.

5 – The Bronze Age copper furnace

In the interesting Municipal Museum of Archaeology Coronel Albino Pereira Lobo, the room dedicated to the Bronze Age has a precious item. Discovered at the Fraga dos Corvos site, the part of an oven is a very significant and rare find.

Archaeologist Elsa Luís, from the Terras Quentes Association, responsible for the museum that bears the name of the main promoter of archaeology in the region, explains to us what the object is and its significance.

6 – The Azibo reservoir

Azibo reservoir

Built in 1982 to guarantee water for irrigation and to supply the population, the Azibo reservoir was quickly adopted as a leisure area par excellence. Today with two busy river beaches, Azibo is also a unique case of biodiversity, and is even a Protected Landscape Area, as Rui Sousa tells us.

7 – Martim Gonçalves de Macedo Museum

Recreation of the feud

Macedo de Cavaleiros has a hero who is celebrated in a museum and who should truly be a national hero. During the battle of Aljubarrota, the knight Martim Gonçalves saved King D. João’s life. With his bravery, he helped dictate the outcome of the battle and, with it, Portugal’s destiny as an independent nation.

Cláudio Pereira, from Martim Gonçalves de Macedo Museum tells the story and remembers how D. João I did not forget the heroic action of the knight of Macedo.

8 – the footprint fraga

Located in the Azibo lagoon, Footprint Crag is one of the geosites of the Terras de Macedo Geopark. However, it is also archaeologically important, as local researcher Rui Sousa tells us.

9 – The Convent of Balsamão

Our Lady of Balsamão is the patron saint of brides but also a convent erected on top of a high and steep hill in the lands of Macedo de Cavaleiros. From the legend of Our Lady of Balsamão to our days – in which it also serves as a hostel, Father Basileu Pires, priest of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, tells us the story of the convent that is the last and largest of the 9 objects we have chosen to tell stories about the transmontan municipality that is on the border between the Hot and Cold lands and that is a territory worth visiting.

Besides the much there is to see there, it is also a place known for its excellent gastronomy and, nowadays, easily accessible by road.

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