Founded in about 300 BC, the town of Arraiolos grew around the summit of a hill and spread down the slopes, with typical low whitewashed houses with a blue trim.
The town is crowned by the 14th-century castle and the great 16th-century "Salvador" Church, surrounded by massive fortified walls.
It is also worth admiring the marble pillory, the "Misericordia" Church with 18th-century decorated tiles or the "Chafariz dos Almocreves", a typical rural fountain which supplied drinking water to both the population and animals and was also used as a public washing-tub in the back. But Arraiolos is famous, and deservedly so, for its dazzling wool carpets which decorate palaces, manors and houses all over Portugal. Women stitching at colourful wool rugs, sitting in front of their houses when the weather is good or by the window in small rooms during Winter, are a usual sight, thus giving continuity to a craft which probably begun with the Moors as early as the 12th century and reached its maximum splendour with the floral designs of the 18th century.
The local Town Hall exhibits a rich variety of carpets from different periods so that visitors may admire the intricate and colourful designs.
It is also a task of patience, as even an expert needlewoman requires about 15 days, working a full eight hours, to embroider little more than one square metre (10 sq. ft.), so it isn't surprising that the authentic hand-made Arraiolos carpets and tapestries are quite expensive.
Embroiderings throughout centuries, the Carpets of Arraiolos are one of the wrinkled affirmations our people' genius. They had arrived until us thanks to the laborious hands of generations of "bordadeiras" that had printed them the best one of its taste, of its art, with traces of the life of the great "Alentejo" plain. In the ends of séc. XV, for mandate of D. Manuel I, the Moorish were banished from the "Mouraria" (Lisbon) and in he way to the north of Africa and the south of Spain, some families would come to fix themselves in these lands. With the particularitity to be skilled craftsmen and face to the good shelter of the local population, these individuals had dedicated to the manufacturing of tapestries, whom, dissimulated as new Christians, would call it: Carpets of Arraiolos. The older documents relates to the production of these carpets in the village of Arraiolos as dated of ends of sec. XVI, assuming however that its implantation dates of more retreating times.
1. Go to the published coords. (1) and note the year in the top of the fountain as ABCD.
Your new coords. will be:
Example: If the year is 1827, the coords. are N38º43.368 W07º58.950
2. Go to the place indicated by the new coords. (2) and note the year near the "Sepulchrum" word as EFGH.
Your new coords. will be:
Example: If the year is 1871, the coords. are N38º43.544 W07º59.063
3. Go to the place indicated by the new coords. (3) and count the steps made up of ancient stone as I.
Your new and final coords. will be:
Example: If the steps are 5, the coords. are N38º 43.564 W07º59.324
After the hunt, if You have time, go to N38º42.466 W07º58.970 and see a field with vestiges of some tapirs, accordingly to this page. You can go by car.
At (2), You can have a good view over the village and the castle.
Between (2) and (3) You may wish to park your "cachemobil" near N38º43.420 W07º59.037 and walk. You'll cross several streets where you can see some small factories of Carpets of Arraiolos. However, you can drive next to the cache place.
- Some gifts and
- Logbook, stash note, pen,
- Documentation in Portuguese and English
Don't forget: "Cache in, trash out" and Leave No Trace
Click To Rate This Cache
Would you like to know more about Geocaching in Portugal?