Village

Candal

Nestled among the mountains.

A soothing resting place for those climbing or descending the mountains. Go onto the top of the village and marvel at the magni

In the river basin of the Ribeira de São João nestles this natural amphitheatre housing Candal and its river. It is situated in the Lousã Mountain, on a hill facing south. Strategically located on the National Highway that links Lousã to Castanheira de Pera, this village is accustomed to receiving visitors. They are rewarded on climbing its steep streets because when they arrive at the viewpoint, beautiful views await them over the valley watered by the Ribeira do Candal. And when they come back down, there is a Schist Villages Shop to greet them.

Benefiting from the ease of access provided by the National Highway, Candal is generally regarded as the most developed of the mountain villages and is one of the most visited. Its inhabitants are used to being joined by holiday and weekend visitors who flock here in search of pure air and good company.

 

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Know the village

Heritage

Mill

The village layout is irregular and complex. The village is built on facing slopes on which the houses are arranged like in an amphitheatre. The only unifying element is the EN236 skirting the bottom of the village. The predominant building material is schist, with unrendered facades giving an unfinished appearance. The row of houses along the highway shows outward signs of greater modernity, with facades rendered and painted in bright colours, but that follow the dominant lines and volumes of the village.

Houses and buildings that once housed the domestic livestock are the most significant buildings.  However, in this village it is the aspect of the architectural ensemble that makes it truly unique, with the uneven shapes of the houses and buildings juxtaposed or even superimposed contributing to a richly diverse landscape.

Apart from houses and buildings that once housed domestic livestock, Candal has no significant buildings. But those that exist have their own history and importance.

Worth a visit:

  • Former Primary School
    Built in the 1920s with remittances sent by Candal people who had emigrated to the USA.

  • Candal Fountain
    Built on the verge of the EN236, it is graced by a poem:
    Candal Fountain
    Has two foundation stones
    One is for courting
    The other is for passing the time

  • Wayside shrine
    This is the only religious structure in the village. It stands in the village square and was built by a Candal family in payment of a promise.

  • Watermills
    Five watermills built in the 1920s along the right bank of the Ribeira de Candal used water power to operate the mechanism that ground the grain produced in the village fields.

  • Olive press
    An olive press, also using water power from the Ribeira do Candal was built here in 1919. It was recently restored to working condition.

  • Public washhouse

History

In general, the history of this village is similar to the histories of the other four Schist Villages in Lousã municipality. Permanent settlement of the villages of the Lousã Mountain occurred in the second half of the 17th century or beginning of the 18th. Until then, occupation was only seasonal, in the spring and summer, with pastoralism practices. What is certain is that Candal is a typical example of the appropriation of territory by man. In a clear attempt to adapt to the uneven ground, the arrangement of the buildings followed a logical method in order to ensure exposure to the sun and ease of access.

The “Register of the population of the Kingdom (1527)” mentions none of these villages in its entry for Lousã. The oldest documents that point to their occupation are a fine imposed by Lousã Council in 1679 and the register of tenant properties ordered by King Pedro II in 1687. At the beginning of the 19th century only Candal and Cerdeira escaped pillaging by the Napoleonic army. In 1885 the population of the seven villages (the five Schist Villages, plus Catarredor and Vaqueirinho) corresponded to 8.7% of the total population of the parish of Lousã (5340 inhabitants).

As for Candal itself, in 1911 the village had 129 inhabitants. Emigration to the USA began in the 1920s, but even so, in 1940 the village reached its maximum population of 201 inhabitants. Around this time, the village had two herds of goats and sheep, totalling 1200 head. The population was occupied in pastoralism, coal production and subsistence agriculture. These were followed by occupations such as planters during the afforestation of the mountains and road menders.

A little higher up is the village of Candal, in the gloomy poverty typical of small mountain villages - two dozen cottages built from schist offcuts. (…) The inhabitants are shepherds, charcoal burners, Forest Service tree planters, road menders, and mainly farmers of the narrow cultivated strip fields on terraces where, by dint of sheer stubbornness, they plant half a dozen cabbages or sow two handfuls of rye, and which often disappear in a night of heavy rain.”
Silva Teles in “Guia de Portugal - Beira Litoral, Beira Baixa, Beira Alta” (1944)

In the 1950s and 1960s many Candal inhabitants left for Brazil. In 1958 the village celebrated the arrival of the first telephony, which was battery operated. The 1960 census showed a sharp decline in the population of the villages, which now represented only 4.2% of the total population of the parish of Lousã (8191 inhabitants). And in 1970 they represented only 2.5%.

Electricity only reached Candal in the 1970s, as did the telephone.
In 1976 the first houses began to be bought for restoration as second homes. In 1991 the village only had 15 inhabitants.

Nature

Candal is included in the Lousã Mountain Site of Community Importance of the Natura 2000 NetworkWe often encounter deer even at the entrance to the village. On entering the village we pass over a wooden bridge crossing a small stream. However, from the valley at the bottom of the village rises the tumultuous sound of rushing water. Like part of a Christmas crib set on the south and west facing slope of the mountain, the village of Cerdeira spontaneously took on the appearance of an amphitheatre intersected by the meandering channel of a stream. This is the Ribeira da Cerdeira, which carries away the waters that pour down the higher western slopes of the Serra da Lousã.

The movement of the water seems to give life to the village, establishing an intimate relationship with the watercourse along which several watermills and irrigation systems have been installed. Through here race the waters that fall on Trevim on their journey to join the Ribeira de São João, the river Arouce, the river Ceira and the river Mondego.

Territory

Candal is 10 km from Lousã. The village is situated on the western slope of the Lousã Mountain, almost at the bottom of a large shell shape formed by the slopes that begin on the main line of mountain ridges. In the river basin of the Ribeira de São João nestles this natural amphitheatre housing Candal and its river. Most buildings in the village are sited on the east-facing slope. Others are arranged along the other slopes, all converging to the same point where the watercourses also are. Here the village is skirted by the main highway, with the houses built in a row on its upstream side.

Candal is crossed by the EN236, which has opened other opportunities for the village since this road connects Lousã to the highest point of the Serra (Trevim, 1204 metres).

Stories and Facts

Origin of the name
The name Candal may be associated with the art of stone carving. The stonecutters – the men who work the stone - and the stonemasons - who with them built walls and houses - sang as they worked. “Cantar a pedra” (singing the stone) may have evolved into “candar” and thence to Candal, the place where they sing the stone.

Facts

  • Permanent inhabitants: up to 10

  • Name of the inhabitants: candalenses

  • Patron Saint: Our Lady of Prayers

  • Iconic feature: Schist Villages Shop

Festivals

  • March - Spring Festival

  • July - Meeting of mountain people (Santo António da Neve)

  • Last Saturday in August - Feast of Our Lady of Prayers - Village festival

  • August - Nights on the Threshing Floor (cinema)

  • September - Music Festival (3rd edition in 2013)

  • December - Christmas in Candal

Products

  • Horticultural produce
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Chestnuts

Suggestions for the village of Candal

See in Candal

Pages

Contacts and Information

Location:
Candal, Lousã 
Getting Here:
De Norte e Sul

Na A1 sair em Coimbra. Tome a N17 (Estrada da Beira) e saia na N342, no sentido da Lousã. Chegando à Lousã, seguir pela N236 no sentido de Castanheira de Pera até chegar ao Candal.

Contactos

Associado

Câmara Municipal da Lousã

Rua Doutor João Santos
3200 - 953 Lousã 
Portugal
(+351) 239 990 370/8
Associado

Junta de Freguesia da Lousã e Vilarinho

Largo Alexandre Herculano, nº20
3200 Lousã 
Portugal
(+351) 239 996 386
Associado

Posto de Turismo da Lousã

3200 Lousã 
Portugal
(+351) 239 990 040

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