Prazo Ruins in Freixo do Numão »
Castelo Velho de Freixo by Numão Credito Duca696 via Wikimedia Commons

Prazo Ruins in Freixo do Numão

If you like archeology and history, be sure to visit the Prazo Ruins, located in Freixo de Numão, in the Guarda district. These ruins are one of the most interesting and well-preserved examples of a Roman village that existed between the XNUMXst century and the beginning of the XNUMXth century AD. But that's not all: in this place there are also traces of other civilizations that inhabited the region since the Paleolithic periods. , Mesolithic and Neolithic until the Middle Ages.

We will tell you everything you can find in the Prazo Ruins and how to get to this destination, which is worth seeing.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

What are the Deadline Ruins?

The Prazo Ruins are an archaeological site that occupies an area of ​​around 10 hectares, where you can see the remains of a Roman village that was built using a prehistoric settlement.

It was a rural property dedicated to agriculture and livestock.

The town was made up of several structures, such as a Paleo-Christian basilica, a bathing area, a manor house, an old castle and several tombs. Furthermore, there is diverse evidence of religious cults dedicated to deities such as Juno, Jupiter, Lares, Breaegui and Turocicis.

The ruins were discovered in 1986 by a group of archaeologists led by António Valério Coelho, who began excavations and studies, which continue to this day. The ruins have been classified as a Property of Public Interest since 1990 and are part of the European Network of Archaeological Sites.

Deadline Ruins; Credit: Vitor Oliveira; CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Deadline Ruins; Credit: Vitor Oliveira; CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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What can you see in the Ruins of Deadline?

At Ruínas do Prazo, you can take a trip back in time and admire the remains of different eras and cultures that left their mark on this place. Here are some of the points of interest you can enjoy:

- A paleochristian basilica, which was built in the XNUMXth century AD on an ancient Roman necropolis and functioned as a church until the XNUMXth century. In the XNUMXth century it was rehabilitated as a country house and still retains some original architectural elements.

- At 22 graves, which contain bones from different periods, from the Roman period to the medieval period. Some of them are anthropomorphic, that is, they have the shape of the human body, and others are stone or brick sarcophagi. There are also graves excavated in the rock or covered with slabs.

- A anthropomorphic stele, a stone carved in the shape of a man with open arms and a sword at his waist. This stele may date back to the Neolithic or Bronze Age and probably represents a warrior or tribal chief.

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- O great menhir, a vertical stone about 4 meters high and 1 meter in diameter. This menhir may have been used as a territorial marker or as a funerary monument and may have Neolithic or Bronze Age origins. Very different from what we see in Almendres Cromlech in Évora.

- A manor house, residence of the then owner of the Roman villa, with several rooms. The house also had a hypocaust heating system (a heating system in which air is heated in a furnace and circulates under the floor and, through perforated bricks, placed inside the walls) and was decorated with polychrome mosaics and mural paintings. Some characteristics that can also be seen in Ruins of Milreu in Estói in the Algarve.

- A bathing area, made up of several rooms intended for bathing and relaxing for the inhabitants of the Roman villa. There were rooms with cold water (frigidarium), warm water (tepidarium) and hot water (caldarium), as well as a laconicum (sauna) and a lecture hall (gym). The bathing area also had a heating system for hypocaust and was decorated with mosaics and stucco.

Credito Ana Felipe SIPA bathing area
Bathing area; Credit: Ana Felipe, SIPA
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- O Old Castle, a fortified settlement that existed between the XNUMXrd and XNUMXnd centuries BC, during the copper and bronze ages. The castle had a double wall, a tower, a cistern and several circular houses. From the top of the castle you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

Castelo Velho de Freixo de Numão Credito Cultura Norte
Castelo Velho de Freixo de Numão; Credit: Cultura Norte

How to get to the Ruins of Prazo?

The Prazo Ruins are located in the town of Prazo, about 3 km from the parish of Freixo de Numão, in the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa.

The ruins are open to the public, however, it is recommended that you take a guided tour and book in advance at the Casa Grande Museum, in Freixo de Numão, which allows you to better understand the historical details.

What can you do in Freixo de Numão?

In addition to the Prazo Ruins there is much more to see and do in Freixo de Numão, as well as in its surrounding area. Here are some suggestions:

– Visit the Casa Grande Museum, which is housed in a baroque manor house from the XNUMXth century and houses archeology and ethnology collections. In the Museum's backyard, you can see the Roman, medieval and modern ruins that were found at the site. Plan your visit to the Casa Grande Museum.

– Explore the Mela Floristic Reserve, a protected area that covers around 100 hectares and has a great diversity of flora and fauna. Here you can find rare and endemic species, such as the snow daffodil, the Saint Joseph lily, the boxwood and the cork oak. The reserve has several signposted walking trails, which allow you to appreciate the natural beauty of the place, where you can also spot wild boars.

– Admire the Forno-Anta da Colodreia, a megalithic monument consisting of a burial chamber covered by a large granite slab. The Forno-Anta dates from the Neolithic or Copper Age and is associated with collective inhumation rituals, being located in the village of Colodreia, about 4 km from Freixo de Numão.

– Cool off in the Water cascades of Pontão das Três Bocas, the three waterfalls that form on the Sabor River, next to the Roman bridge of the same name. The waterfalls are an ideal place to bathe on hot summer days, surrounded by nature. The waterfalls are located approximately 5 km from Freixo de Numão.

Conclusion

The Prazo Ruins are an archaeological treasure that reveals the historical and cultural richness of Freixo de Numão and the Beira Alta region.

In this place you can travel back in time and discover the remains of an ancient Roman town and other civilizations that inhabited this area over the centuries.

Furthermore, you can also enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, which offers several points of interest for nature lovers.

Also take the opportunity to taste the good food and wine of the region and the pleasure of spending time with its good people!

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