Village

Casal de São Simão

A "casal" in one street

In this one-street village there is a new community spirit.

Discover a village with only one street. With a spring that continuously intones its watery chant. With a chapel that tells us the legend of a saint. With a path that leads to the beach nestling in a cove in the Fragas de São Simão. Here there is also a Schist Villages Shop and an Association whose name coincides with what this village promises: that we are entering the Stone Refuges.

This village has a new community spirit created by people who have restored the houses with their own hands. They are new villagers who have come from the city and brought new life to these parts. Every weekend and whenever they can manage it, they get together in each others’ houses and cooperate over meals, in building works, in socialising. "May those who come, come to do good", they seem to be telling us. And the appeal is irresistible ...

A small village of just one street, basically built from quartzite. It is situated on one of the flanks of the quartzite ridge which gives rise to the Fragas de São Simão and has the oldest chapel in Figueiró dos Vinhos municipality.

The village extends along a ridge almost parallel to the course of the Ribeira de Alge. The entrance to the village is at the highest end and the place ends where the slope made it difficult to continue the street.
 

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Know the village

Heritage

 

The predominant building material is quartzite, resulting from siting the village on the side of a quartzite ridge. The stone is exposed in almost all the facades, giving the village a unique appearance. The village layout is simple and linear, arranged along the basically single village street.

Worth a visit:

  • Ponte de São Simão
    This bridge is said to have foundations dating from the Roman occupation. Vehicle traffic has caused significant changes in its deck, which have altered its original appearance.

  • Private house
    A house, perhaps one of the oldest in the village, has the date 1701 carved on the face of a lintel.

  • Drinking fountain
    The water comes from a spring situated on the other side of the valley. It is dated 1939.

  • Chapel of São Simão
    Dates from the 15th century and stands at the entrance to the village, almost on the top of Monte de São Simão. It is dedicated to St. Simon who is on the high altar, and to St. Jude the Apostle. It was extended in 1678 with the addition of a room for receiving alms. The chapel has a gothic inscription (15th century) which reads “This chapel was ordered to be built by João Vicente, Prior of Aguda, servant of Count Ferdinand and was finished in the year 1458.” In the south facade there is a gothic window, a style that is predominant in the older part of the chapel. Above the door, the lintel bears the date 1698. The porch, from the same period, has three entrance bays (one blocked up). The bay on the south side has the date 1675 carved in the keystone of the arch.

  • Threshing floor and Oven
    The threshing floor and oven, and the numerous small terraces that surround the village, bear witness to a subsistence agricultural past.

History

The village is thought to be of medieval origin, although there may have been prehistoric settlements in the vicinity. In one of the versions of "Portugalliae" by Fernando Álvaro Seco, dated 1600 - regarded as one of the first cartographic representations of whole of the Portuguese mainland - we find S. Simão Dalge in the location of present day Casal de São Simão. The oldest architectural lines of the Chapel of São Simão, dating from the 16th century, confirm this.
A residential building in the village bears a
carved inscription with the date 1701 on the lintel of a door, which confirms more or less continuous occupation since then.

A place of legends and superstitions, obscure Casal de São Simão was a place of livestock rearing and fishing. In the 19th century it also had many olive presses and windmills, taking advantage of its hilltop position. In 1860 five families lived in the village.
The master painter
José Malhoa immortalised the village’s natural beauty in a painting entitled “The Baptism of Christ”, now standing on the high altar of the Mother Church of Figueiró dos Vinhos.
The period between 1950 and 1980 saw the gradual depopulation of the village, and it was only in the 1990s that there began a surge of restoration by its inhabitants and the local authority. Today, Casal de São Simão is one of the most lively and hospitable villages.

Nature

Historically rich in fauna – birds such as the Golden Eagle were already nesting in the region in the 19th century – and in flora – with leafy chestnuts, oaks and hollies -– Casal de São Simão has the best of both worlds: panoramic views over the surrounding hills and a river beach overlooked by impressive, craggy cliffs. Here, the Black Stork conceals its nest, the Grey Heron makes its unobtrusive flights and the Kingfisher skims over crystal clear waters.

The Ribeira de Alge was called the river Aljia in documents dating from the early days of Portuguese nationhood, betraying its Arab origins. It rises in the highest levels of the Lousã Mountain in a place called Catraia, where it begins its north-south course that will take it to the place that is the epilogue of its journey, Foz de Alge, where it merges with the waters of the Zêzere, which in turn will meet the Tejo at Constância.

Territory

Located in parish of Aguda, in the extreme southwest of the Lousã Mountain, Casal de São Simão rises in a landscape dominated by the surrounding mountains: the mountain ranges Serra de São João, Serra de Cercal, the Relva Grande and the Outeiro da Cabeça, which lead to the monumental Fragas de São Simão, served by a viewpoint from which this village can be seen.

Stories and Facts

 

Casal is an old Portuguese word which in the Middle Ages was used to describe a group of two or three houses in a rural setting. The second part, São Simão, refers to the patron saint of the village.

The Baptism of Christ”, painting by José Malhoa
Visiting the Mother Church of Figueiró dos Vinhos, we find a large painting on the high altar. It depicts one of the most iconic scenes from the life of Jesus Christ: his baptism by St. John the Baptist on the banks of the River Jordan. Its author, the painter José Malhoa (b. Caldas da Rainha 1855; d. Figueiró dos Vinhos 1933), adopted this region as his home. He offered the painting to the Mother Church in 1904, with the following dedication: “... I am sending this religious painting to furnish the retable of the high altar of our church, wishing thereby in some way to link my name as an artist to this my homeland.” On the left side of the painting, José Malhoa depicted the Fragas de São Simão as part of the setting of the baptism scene.

Facts

  • Permanent inhabitants: fewer than 10

  • Patron Saint: St. Simon

  • Iconic feature: Chapel of São Simão

Festivals

  • Last Sunday in October- Walnut Festival (associated with the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude the Apostle)

Products

  • Horticultural produce

Suggestions for the village of Casal de São Simão

See in Casal de São Simão

Pages

Contacts and Information

Location:
Casal de São Simão, Figueiró dos Vinhos 
Getting Here:
De Norte e Sul
Na A1, sair na saída 10 de Pombal, na direção de Castelo Branco pelo IC8. Passados 37km, sair em Aguda/Fato. Seguir a sinalização para o Casal de S.Simão, a 2 km.

De Espanha (A25)
Na A23, sair na saída 18 em direção a Pombal, pelo IC8. Ao fim de 71km, sair em Aguda/Fato. Seguir a sinalização para o Casal de S.Simão, a 2 km.

Contactos

Associado

Câmara Municipal de Figueiró dos Vinhos

Praça do Município
Figueiró dos Vinhos 
Portugal
(+351) 236 559 550

Junta de Freguesia de Aguda

Rua D. Afonso Henriques
3260-021 Aguda, Figueiró dos Vinhos 
Portugal
(+351) 236 622 602
Associado

Refúgios de Pedra

3260-030 Casal de S. Simão, Figueiró dos Vinhos 
Portugal
+351) 919 311 131
Associado

Posto de Turismo de Figueiró dos Vinhos

Avenida José Malhoa
3260 Figueiró dos Vinhos 
Portugal
(+351) 236 552 178

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