Village

Cerdeira

Aqui mora a tranquilidade

Walking through the village is a physical and sensory experience. At every step there is a nook, a blind alley, something that one does not know whether it was put there by man or by nature. There are no dissonances. There is just the sound of tranquillit

As we enter Cerdeira, going down to the little brook, we are struck by the higgledy-piggledy buildings. The dominant tone of the schist is juxtaposed with the green of the slopes, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds.

The inhabitants of this and other villages must have attended the university of the mountains. The houses were built on a rocky hillside to avoid occupying the scarce flatter areas, which were given over to agriculture. A work of engineering surrounded the village with a staircase of terraces holding back the soil that rain and erosion carried down the slope. The siting and the architecture of the buildings seems to follow a plan that aims to astound twenty-first century visitors.

Cerdeira is a magical place. At the entrance to the village, a small bridge leads us to a handful of houses peeping through the foliage. It seems like we are crossing the portal to a fantasy world. Everything appears perfect in this deeply romantic setting. The slate path points the way to a spring hidden among lush vegetation.

Between steep slopes rent by watercourses tumbling down from higher up, Cerdeira nestles in the most bucolic of surroundings. This is a village that art and creativity have helped to refound. Indeed, at certain times of the year, the village becomes alive with events that combine art and botany.

 

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Know the village

Heritage

Wayside shrine

The village consists basically of a single steep lane linking the top of the village to the stream flowing in the valley. The buildings are arranged irregularly along it, with little nooks between them. The predominant building material is a dark schist and none of the facades is rendered.

Following restoration, the buildings of Cerdeira guard the memories and architecture of other times. The traditional schist stone is used both in the houses and in the animal pens, and acquires particular reflections when the sun crosses the humid air of the mountains. Climbing up the slope, the houses were built facing the sun and the paths were carved into the rocky outcrops with no clear distinction between public and private, resulting in intimate environments like virtual engravings.

Worth a visit:

  • Chapel of Nossa Srª de Fátima

  • Fountain
    Constructed in1938 by Lousã Municipal Council on the path leading to the village. Fed by spring water.

  • Wayside shrine
    In the form of a niche in the facade of a private house. Inside, a painted board is an ex-voto dedicated to Our Lord of the Afflicted, the text of which is still relevant today:
    MIRACLE THAT WAS DONE BY OUR LORD OF
    THE AFFLICTED TO THE VILLAGE OF CER
    DEIRA WHO DID NOT ALLOW IT
    TO DIE AND WHO ALWAYS PROTECTED THE SONS OF CER
    DEIRA THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

  • House of Arts and Crafts
    It was rebuilt under the aegis of the ECO-ARQ programme following eco-rehabilitation criteria: the use of local construction materials and techniques with low CO2 emissions (schist stone and clay mortar, chestnut wood and cork granule sheets for thermal insulation). It promotes creative and artistic tourism.

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. Indeed, 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).

It had six watermills and two flocks of sheep and goats totalling 800 head. The New State’s Forest Development Plan, dating from the beginning of the 1940s, led to the afforestation of areas of pasture and caused the decline of this and other villages.
The censuses record that the largest number of inhabitants registered in 1940 was 79.

Nature

Cerdeira 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

Cerdeira is one of the five Aldeias do Xisto in Lousã municipality, and like the others, is located in the deeply incised river basin of the Ribeira de São João, the main watercourse draining this flank of the mountains to the west of its highest point (Trevim, 1204 metres).

The village is built on a nearly vertical slope, along which grey-brown schist houses appear to form a staircase. Between the houses, a single, steep alley takes us on a winding route to the top and the bottom of the village. Between steep slopes rent by watercourses tumbling down from above, Cerdeira nestles in the most bucolic of surroundings. The highest point of the mountains is just over a thousand metres away as the crow flies. But seen from the village it appears to touch the sky.

Stories and Facts

Origin of the name
Cerdeira or Sardeira in old Portuguese is the name of the tree which is more commonly known today as the cherry. It is assumed that the site of the village should show evidence of this species, because the place is conducive to the spontaneous growth of this tree.

The end of the world
Our world could end in a variety of ways. For the last three original inhabitants of Cerdeira, the end of the world occurred in the 1970s, following an argument over the sharing of a scarce resource: water. Augusto Constantino had the misfortune to make a threatening blow with a mattock, but it was enough to end life in the village. In 1992 the Portuguese film director João Mário Grilo adapted the story for the screenplay of his 64-minute film “The end of the world”, depicting the end of this cycle of the village’s history. The plot does not depict the truth of the events. In fact, Constantino was a man who was always respected in the village. And in 1983, after serving his sentence, he returned. His old world had gone. But he found a new, welcoming world, where he lived for nine years, teaching and sharing his knowledge with some of the current inhabitants. Justice to his memory.

A people who sing
At the beginning of the 1970s, Michel Giacometti and the Portuguese television producer Alfredo Tropa rambled for two years all over Portugal, making a memorable collection of Portuguese popular music. In Santo António da Neve, they collected musical events that happened during that pilgrimage. One of the popular performers was an inhabitant of the nearby village of Franco.

Facts

  • Permanent inhabitants: fewer than 10

  • Name of the inhabitants: cerdeirenses

  • Patron Saint: Our Lady of Fátima

  • Iconic feature: Road leading to the interior of the village

Festivals

  • July or August: Feast of Our Lady of Fátima - Village festival

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

  • Second weekend in July: Elementos à solta - Art meets nature

Products

The "Serranitas", crafted by Kerstin Thomas.

  • Crafts by Kerstin Thomas/Cerdeira Studio

  • Planta do Xisto products (organic farming)

  • Heather honey

Suggestions for the village of Cerdeira

See in Cerdeira

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Contacts and Information

Location:
Cerdeira, Lousã 
Latitude: 40.0936
Longitude: -8.19464

Getting Here:
De Norte e de Sul
Seguir pela A1 até à saída n.º11 (Lousã/Condeixa). Seguir a N342 em direcção à Lousã. Chegando à Lousã, seguir pela N236 em direcção a Castanheira de Pera, até encontrar a placa indicativa da Aldeia.

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