The generality of the pedestrian routes are part of spaces of high historical, cultural, heritage and landscape value, which, in addition to providing its practitioners with benefits for their health and well-being, boost tourism and economically the regions where they are inserted.
The Cistercian Monks
Caminho dos Monges is a supramunicipal project that involves two municipalities, Lamego and Tarouca, with a total length of approximately 42 km, approximately 19 km in the municipality of Lamego and 23 km in the municipality of Tarouca. A further 3 complementary access paths to the Caminho dos Monges will also be implemented, with approximately 10 km each.
The presence of the Cistercian Monks in the Varosa Valley is irrefutable proof of the importance of this territory at regional, national and international level.
Nothing is more genuine than origin, and the history of Vale Varosa takes us back to the origins of our country.
Dom Afonso Henriques had proclaimed Portugal as a country in 1139, but at that time the status of a country lacked papal recognition.
São Bernardo Claraval, the mentor of the Order of Cistercians, uncle of the First King of Portugal, knew that the founding of a convent in Portuguese territory was fundamental to sensitize Pope Alexander III to recognize Portugal as a country with full rights.
Thus was born the Monastery of S. João de Tarouca, the first Cistercian Monastery, the beginning of the Path of the Monks, and also a new path for our Portugal.
The lands of Vale Varosa settled the Cistercian Monks, the so-called White Monks, and their connection to the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, made them grow, increasing their properties and creating greater power over the territory and over who lived here.
Their audacity and daring impelled them to follow the course of the water, the course of the Varosa River, which took them to the Douro, where they soon realized the agricultural richness of the territory, and where the first sweet wine production farm in Lamego was born. , Quinta do Mosteiro, now called Quinta do Mosteiro.
To walk the Caminho dos Monges is to set out to discover a unique territory, prodigiously rich in history, religion and heritage, which invites a tactile approach, and the discovery of the traditional uses and customs that they left behind.
It is marveling at the places of worship and meditation of the white monks, and enjoying the perfect symbiosis between history and nature, which impels us to be able to touch and breathe the places where the Path takes us.
Walking this Path is experiencing the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cistercian Monks, who by praying and working, knew how to shape the region, acting as true transforming agents of the landscape by cultivating land and vineyards.
It is to discover the Monastery of S. João de Tarouca, to know the Medieval Toll of the Bridge and Tower of Ucanha, to appreciate the imposing Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas, to visit the Chapel of S. Pedro de Balsemão, to perceive the uniqueness of the first installations of the Company Varosa hydroelectric plant, follow the route of the epic railway line between Régua and Lamego and go around Quinta do Mosteirô, thus arriving at the World Heritage Douro, always flanked by a breathtaking landscape.
The Caminho dos Monges represents, therefore, much more than a project to promote territorial tourism and enhance the interior, it is a cultural project that intends to associate the secular experiences of the Monks, with the heritage and historical wealth of the region, the unique grandeur of the Varosa and Douro river valleys, presenting itself as a differentiating content for a greater enhancement of the Douro, linked to the genesis of Port Wine, and constituting itself as the first great path of national cultural ecotourism.
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