VILLAGES

Barroca

zêzere
ZêzereBarroca
Barroca
barroca, fundão
Resource Centre. Barroca still has a rural air to it, defined by its agricultural cycles, and it is here that you'll find the Schist Villages' Network headquarters and Shop.

The oldest part of Barroca stretches up a small hill, flanked by two deeply gouged water courses, forming a cluster perpendicular to the course of the  Zêzere, which it adjoins.

The Casa Grande, an ancient manor house dating back to the 18th century and currently functioning as the Schist Villages Resource Centre, welcomes us and then launches us onto our path of discovery. Barroca still has a rural air to it, defined by its agricultural cycles. It is surrounded by a pine forest and by the pyramid-like tip heaps from the  Cabeço do Pião Lavaria, which once belonged to the Panasqueira Mines.

Down the path that leads alongside the Zêzere, you'll find old watermills that used to run on the river's force.  The sheet of water and the landscape call for a brief pause, before crossing a footbridge to the other bank, where you will discover rock paintings our ancestors made thousands of years ago. The Casa Grande also has an  Interpretation Centre about this heritage, and it challenges us to follow the Pinhal Interior Rock Art Route.

  • territory

    Situated on the slopes of the Serra da Gardunha mountain range, only 30 kilometres from the municipality of Fundão, Barroca is camouflaged in the landscape and rules over a knoll on the left bank of the Zêzere, with the river lapping at its feet and commanding extensive views.

  • nature

    The dense, variegated woodland covering the banks of the Zêzere upstream from the weir, provides refuge for the  otter  which, at close of day, runs busily over the stones standing proud of the river or slides smoothly beneath the surface of its tranquil waters.

    This is the first Schist Village to greet the River Zêzere on its journey to meet the Tagus. The river has always interfered in the history of the village. And the village has not ceased to interfere with the river: weir, mills, bridges...

  • history and stories

    It is very likely that the settlement already existed in the 16th century .  The 18th century - judging by the nature and size of the buildings erected then and which we can still admire – would have been a heyday of development. Historical records mention Barroca with regard to the Maria da Fonte Revolution during which, on 5 July 1846, the " Fabião Guerrilla Force" distinguished itself. This was led by a certain Fabião from Barroca, the very person who built and owned the Casa Grande.

    Thanks to the activity of the mining area of Panasqueira, the 20th century brought work and wealth. With the end of the 2nd Great War, mining was drastically reduced. Many sought a future in new horizons. Those who later returned, at the end of the century, built the houses surrounding the old village.

    Origin of the name
    The name Barroca has several possible origins: in one of the versions of the  "Portugalliae" by Fernando Álvaro Seco, which is dated 1600 and is deemed to be one of the first cartographic representations of the whole continental Portuguese territory, one can find  Abaroqua  at the location of the current Barroca.

    For Viterbo (1798), Barroco means  "Boulder, or tall boulders, overlooking the valley or flatlands, and embedded. Hence Barrocal: place full of high, craggy boulders." On the other hand, in Portuguese, Barroca meant a place where there was “barro”, or clay and this material can also be found in the vicinity of the village. Locals believe the name to be linked to a long, deep valley flanking the village: the "Chão da Cova".

    Crossing the Zêzere
    Information from 1758 tells us that anyone wishing to cross the rushing Zêzere with its strong currents could do so by ferry, together with two animals and another eleven people. This was deemed to be the regular load for this type of boat.

    The Casa Grande in the Guerra da Patuleia
    In October 1846, Portugal was embroiled in civil war. The eight months during which the Patuleia civil war was fought between the Chartists (conservative liberals) and Septembrists (radical liberals), put Beira Baixa to “fire and sword". Fundão was the stage for fratricidal struggles.
    The celebrated “Fabião Guerrilla Force” or "Army of the River", led by Fabião António Leitão, managed to take control of the municipality of Fundão. From his home - Casa Grande  - Fabião António sent official correspondence as administrator of the municipality, in what was then considered to be "a kind of republic of Cova da Beira". However, History was not on the side of the Septembrists (liberals). And in June 1847 the revolution was quelled. It is said that this could only be achieved with the aid of foreign troops.

  • patrimony

    The outskirts of the village has a number of buildings from the late 1930s dotted around. . In the central square, you can see the old section of the village, which is essentially three streets, connected by several alleys. The main building material is schist, although a significant amount of the buildings' facades are rendered and painted, predominantly white. There are a significant number of large aristocratic buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, built entirely from schist, which is relatively rare in the Schist Villages network.

    In the village, the ground is paved with rolled pebbles, but down by the river we find the slabs of an  ancient medieval road. In the compact streets, the houses sometimes have walkways at first storey level and the small details hint at the desire to add feeling to the construction Beyond the perimeter of the village, the  support buildings for field labour  are dotted along lanes of beaten earth, between the small properties spread over the slopes. Over footbridges and lovely riverside paths, you come to archaeological finds that have possibly existed for over 12 thousand and even 20 thousand years.

    Alongside this heritage, there are also some beautiful religious examples, such as the chapels of Nossa Senhora da Rocha, São Romão, São Roque and Nossa Senhora da Agonia, and of course, the Church of São Sebastião. You can also visit the Casa Grande (the Fabião family manor house), several private eighteenth and nineteenth century homes, footbridges, a public washhouse, a weir and a mill, among other monuments.

    Also worth a visit:

    • Casa Grande – Schist Villages Resource Centre
    • Private chapel
    • Chapel of São Roque
    • Parish church
    • Group of private houses from the 18th and 19th centuries
      What is now the Rua 5 de Outubro used to be the hub around which the village was structured in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is borne out by the nature, the dimension and the distinctive elements of the buildings dating from this period that still stand here:
      - the Casa Grande
      - the house carved with the date 1772, where José Inácio Cardoso was born
      - and the house carved with the date 1839 in Roman numerals (MDCCCXXXIX).
    • Public wash house
      With architectural traces from the Estado Novo era.
    • Footbridges
      Two footbridges cross the Zêzere:
      - an older, more rustic one
      - and a more recent one with a metallic structure
    • Chafariz dos Namorados (lovers’ water fountain)
      Granite fountain, dated 1915, with piped water, located on the Rua 5 de Outubro.
    • Ribeira da Bica Water Fountain
      This granite water fountain nowadays sits in a reception and recreation area.
    • Cantinho dos Palermas (Fools' Corner)
      Meeting point, ironically baptised by the locals.
    • Chapel of Nª Srª da Rocha
      This was instituted by the Fabião family. It stands isolated at the top of a hill overlooking the village.
    • Chapel of S. Romão
      The date of 1720 is engraved in the lintel over the portal . The rectangular chapel is very unassuming and is rendered and painted white. There is a simple cross at the apex of the frontage.
    • Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Agonia
      A modest rectangular chapel in non-rendered schist, dated 1713.
    • Wayside shrine (to the souls in purgatory)
      At the bottom of the village, on the left bank of the Zêzere, next to the access to the footbridges (17th or 18th century)
    • Guardian Angel
      Modern altar installed beside the EN238, at the entrance to the village.
    • Weir and mill
      In front of the village, on the bed of the Zêzere, there is a weir and the respective hydraulic mill.
  • festivities
    • 19 January: Feast of “São Sebastião - Festa do Bodo“ (feast day of the patron saint)
  • products
    • Horticultural produce
    • Olives
    • Medronho berry (fruit of the strawberry tree),
  • how to arrive

    Na A1 > Saída 7 (A23 – Torres Novas/Abrantes). Seguir pela A23 até à saída 28 (Fundão-Sul). No Fundão, tomar a N238 e seguir 27km até chegar à Barroca.

  • Residents' name
    barrocenses
  • Patron saint
    são sebastião
  • Ex-libris
    casa grande – schist villages resource centre

Contacts

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Mining Territory - Barroca > Dornelas do Zêzere - GRZ on Foot: Stage 3
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PR1 FND - Schist trails of Barroca - route of the rock engravings
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Meanders I [GR33 - GRZ: Canoeing]
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Janeiro de Cima
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Meanders - Janeiro de Cima > Janeiro de Cima Rest Area - GRZ on Foot: Stage 2
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Meanders - Janeiro de Cima Rest Area > Janeiro de Baixo - GRZ on Foot: Stage 3
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