Aldeia das Dez

açor mountain
Açor MountainAldeia das Dez
Aldeia das Dez
aldeia das dez, oliveira do hospital
Viewpoint Village. From the granite there are distant views of the schist.

A charming little village overlooking the river Alvôco. The entire village seems like a lingering viewpoint with spectacular views over the surrounding mountains. Breathe in its pure air, learn about its rich history and make sure you explore every nook and cranny. The views from the village viewpoint will take the breath away from any visitor who appreciates the stunning scenery of the Serra da Estrela. Here, every house, every street and every square is a viewpoint.

Built predominantly of granite, Aldeia das Dez has an impressive architectural heritage, particularly the Mother Church, whose interior is decorated with sumptuous gilded carvings.

Many carvers and gilders once lived in the village, who graced the village with their work. The gilded carving in the Mother Church is a good example of this, along with the sculptures and paintings that adorn the interior of the building. But the village’s charms are more than that: there are also the people and the landscape.

Those who cannot resist good confectionery will find the village’s traditional cakes, coscoréis and cavacas made in the Aldeia das Dez style. Enjoy them and also try a compote or medronho liqueur made from the fruit of the arbutus tree, which is abundant in the area.

  • territory

    The village is situated on the northern slope of Mount Colcurinho in the Serra do Açor, at an elevation of about 500 metres, overlooking the river Alvôco. 

    Administratively part of the District of Coimbra, it lies within the municipality of Oliveira do Hospital, which borders Nelas municipality to the north, Seia municipality to the east, Arganil municipality to the south and Tábua to the west.

  • nature

    The river Alvôco, which rises in the Serra da Estrela, is also the river of Aldeia das Dez. In this terrain heavily incised into a branched network of valleys, the one in which the village is situated is deep and is oriented approximately east-west. It is about 30 km long and its course ends at Ponte das Três Entradas, where it joins the Alva.

  • history and stories

    The vestiges of walls, all that remains of a pre-Roman fort, testify to the antiquity of human settlement here. The Romans also passed through here, as evidenced by the Roman road outside the village, which runs towards Avô, and also some coins found near the village and the fort.

    The status of the village changed when, in 1543, the Bishop of Coimbra, Dom Jorge de Almeida, separated it from Avô. However, this status was reversed in 1594, when it was once again annexed to Santa Maria de Avô, only achieving independence again in 1602/1603, which it never lost. On 24 December 1812 street lighting reached the village. The lamps operated on carbide. And when, in the 1860s, the match industry began in Portugal, Aldeia das Dez occupied a prominent role: in 1890 there were two or three match factories in the village, employing around 50 workers. One of the factories still exists and has been converted into a private house, and cannot be visited. Until 1899, the year when the municipal road that connects it to Ponte das Três Entradas was completed, Aldeia das Dez was virtually isolated.

    Origin of the name
    In the “Register of the population of the Kingdom (1527)” the entry for the town of Avô included the then lugar dalldea which had 49 residents.
    Sometime between the 16th century and more recent times, the words “das Dez” were added to the name of the village, though the reason for this is not documented. Among the various theories, a plausible reason may be its derivation from “Aldeia dos Diez”, from the surname (Diez = Dias) common in the region at the time of the village’s foundation.

    Origin of the name, according to legend
    The origin of the village’s name, as the legend relates, is that at the time of the Reconquest, ten women found a treasure in a cave on Mount Colcurinho. What the treasure was, no one knows. Perhaps it was something intangible. The ten women divided the treasure among themselves, swearing never to reveal it. This is secret that has been passed down from generation to generation.

    The match industry
    With the beginning of the match industry in Portugal in the 1860s, Aldeia das Dez occupied a prominent role: In 1890 there were two or three match factories in the village- “Serra da Estrela” and “Francisco Antunes do Amaral” – employing around 50 workers. The monopoly that was granted to the Companhia Portuguesa de Fósforos in 1895 wiped out this industry in the village. One of the factories was converted into a woollens mill, which also produced blankets. The nineteenth century building still survives, converted into a private house, which cannot be visited.

    Rua dos Entalhadores
    In Aldeia das Dez there still exists this street once occupied by wood carvers of great artistic skill. On the high altar of the Mother Church of the Schist Village of Benfeita we can see an original 18th century work by the carver José Tavares of Aldeia das Dez.

    Here, in the Mother Church, the same carver executed a pulpit which is an outstanding example of his craft. Only oil was used for varnishing the piece so that paint did not hide the details of the work.
    In the village there is also a Rua dos Douradores (Gilders’ Street).

    Plane crash
    On 15 April 1953 a Portuguese Air Force fighter plane crashed in Aldeia das Dez. It was the second time in a few days that the pilot had carried out aerial exercises over the village. During the aerobatic manoeuvres that he was performing that day, something went wrong. The fighter hit a tree, then a house and finally crashed near the village. The pilot died instantly. His name was Alfredo José. He was born in Aldeia das Dez.

  • patrimony

    The architectural heritage of Aldeia das Dez is impressive, the houses are its jewel. The House of the S (or House of the Volute) is a good example. A 17th century building in the vernacular architectural style, it is a two-storey structure of irregular masonry.  Also worth a visit is the Primary School. This is a building typical of the “Centenaries Plan”, from the time of the New State.

    Religious heritage is also plentiful in Aldeia das Dez. As well as the Mother Church, which dates from the 18th century, there is also the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, built in 1758. Endowed with a neoclassical facade, the church’s interior features an altarpiece with an image of St. Mary Magdalene. More modest, but no less beautiful is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Dores, also built in the 18th century.

    Aldeia das Dez is also a village of fountains. There are four of them, from the Fonte do Povo, built in 1892 and adorned with tiles bearing poems by Dr. Vasco Campos, to the Fonte do Soito Meirinho at the entrance to the village.

    If you fancy a walk, you can make use of the Roman road which is located 3 km from Aldeia das Dez, at Caminho das Tapadas and Areal.

    The Stone Cross in Largo da Fonte, built in 1661 and restored in 1960, it is also something that is worth visiting.

    Also worth a visit:

    • Stone Cross in Largo da Fonte
    • Solar Pina Ferraz manor house
    • Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Dores
    • Old Cemetery
    • Fonte do Povo fountain
    • Roman road
      Stretch of Roman paving, running towards Avô. It is located 3 km from Aldeia das Dez, at Caminho das Tapadas and Areal
    • Sixteenth century house
      Next to the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, on the lower side of the road. Particularly noteworthy are the rounded moulding surrounding the entrance door, and the chimney.
    • Casa da Fábrica
      Building situated next to the cemetery, which was formerly a blanket factory. Nowadays it is a private house.
    • Primary School
      Typical primary school built as part of the “Centenaries Plan” at the time of the New State.
    • Fonte do Marmeleiro fountain
      Constructed in 1915. It bears a carved inscription with the following initials: J.P.C.
    • Fonte do Soito Meirinho fountain
    • Fonte do Cabo do Lugar fountain
      Constructed in 1929. It bears a carved inscription with the following initials: JCS
    • Wayside shrines
      Two 18th century shrines mark the route of an old road that once crossed the village.
    • Miradouro do Penedo da Saudade viewpoint
    • Miradouro da Mimosa viewpoint
    • Miradouro do Largo Alfredo Duarte viewpoint
    • Churchyard railings of the Mother Church
  • festivities
    • July: Feast of Our Lady of Prayers
    • October: Chestnut Festival (2013 saw the 12th edition)
  • products
    • Confectionery
    • Weaving
    • Arbutus

    Confraria do Medronho
    The arbutus tree abounds on the south-facing slopes of the Serra do Açor. The Confraria do Medronho (Fraternity of the Arbutus), based here, exists to promote the species and the products made from it. In addition to the fresh fruit, the arbutus can also be used to make jams, cakes, brandy, liqueurs and vinegar.

  • how to arrive

    De Norte e de Sul
    Vindo de Noroeste (Guarda, Seia), Nascente (Coimbra) e Poente (Covilhã, Fundão), através da EN 230, a partir do nó de Venda de Galizes localizado na denominada Estrada da Beira – EN 17 (articulada com o IC 6 e o IP 3, permitindo a ligação a Coimbra, à zona Centro, a Lisboa e ao Norte Litoral) e o nó da Ponte das Três Entradas. Para Nordeste a ligação é assegurada a partir da ligação da EN 17 com o IP 5 (em Celorico da Beira), até Guarda e Espanha. As ligações a Sudeste (Vila Cova do Alva, Arganil) fazem-se através da EN 342 e a Sudoeste (Pomares) através da EN 513.

    De Espanha
    Entrando por Vilar Formoso, tomar a A25/E80 na direcção Aveiro, até à saída 26 (Seia/Gouveia/Celorico). Em Celorico da Beira, na rotunda, saia na quarta saída, em direcção a Gouveia (N17). Siga pela E802. Seguindo pela N17 em direcção a Gouveia, passará por Cortiçô da Serra e São Paio de Gramaços. Perto de Penalva de Alva, siga à direita pela EM 514. Depois é só seguir à direita na N230 e depois pela EM506.

    Outras Informações:
    Na aldeia existem painéis informativos sobre

    • A Aldeia das Dez, na Casa do S
    • Os PR1, PR2 e PR3 OHP - Caminho do Xisto de Aldeia das Dez,  no Largo Alfredo Duarte
    • Ponto de informação na Casa do S.
  • Residents' name
  • Patron saint
    são bartolomeu
  • Ex-libris
    solar pina ferraz


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