Almendres Cromlech, Portugal

 

 

The Cromlech of the Almendres megalithic complex is located near the village of Guadalupe close to the town of Évora. It is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe. This archaeological site consists of several megalithic structures, cromlechs, and menhir stones. The construction of these structures date back to the 6th millennium BC. The excavation of the site unearthed a series of both megalithic and neolithic construction phases. The relative chronology of the cromlech and menhirs is extremely complex and covers a period from the Neolithic to Chalcolithic, and it is believed that the monument had a religious/ceremonial purpose, or functioned as a primitive astronomical observatory. About a dozen monoliths present some form of carved drawings, four of which exhibit only small circular holes. One monolith with a cut flat top at about breast level and showing several dimples, might have served for finer astronomical observation, specially spring equinox observation, by putting small stones on them. Another menhir also exhibits a schematized anthropomorphic representation, surrounded by circles and associated with a crozier.

 

We visited here is 2011 and again in 2012. It is a beautiful site surounded by Cork trees. You used to be able to drive a vehicle all the way down to it and we parked there for a few nights the first time we visted. Now there are fences to stop vehicles getting to close but there is a small car park and it is only a short walk to the stones.