Almendres Cromlech, Evora Portugal
The Alentejo region contains numerous Neolithic stone formations and the finest is the Almendres Cromlech (Cromeleque dos Almendres). The 95 standing stones of the Almendres Cromlech form two large stone circles and were once part of a ceremonial site dedicated to a celestial religion.
The entire monument was constructed over a very long period, with the first stones laid in 6,000bc, and was in continual use until 3,000bc. Many of the stones have ancient patterns and diagrams of unknown meanings, which add to the mystery of the site. The stone circles of the Almendres Cromlech are an interesting excursion from Evora and highly recommended for those visitors with a rental car.
The Almendres Cromlech near Evora
Almendres Cromlech Tourist Information
The standing stones of the Almendres Cromlech are regarded as the finest example of Neolithic structures that remain on the Iberian Peninsula. Thankfully, the local government has not cordoned or fenced off the stones and visitors are free to wander around the entire site and even touch the stones. This relaxed approach extends to the management of the site, there is no entrance fee and the stones are open to visit at any time.
The stone circles attract few visitors, partially due to the poor public transport connecting the location: there are no bus routes and taxis are expensive. For a guide on how to reach the Almendres Cromlech, please click here.
Further Information About The Almendres Cromlech
The Almendres Cromlech rings are an arrangement of 95 granite menhir stones which form two rings: a circular ring to the east, and a larger oval ring to the west. The smaller ring to the east contains the oldest stones and was constructed during the early Neolithic (6,000bc) era. The larger oval ring was built during the middle Neolithic (approximately 5,000bc).
In the third stage of use, around 3,000bc, many of the stones were repositioned to align with the moon, the sun and the stars. It is predicted that the site was used as an important religious site by a religion that had possessed an in-depth understanding of celestial motions and star alignments. Interestingly, all of the ring formations are aligned with the largest of the granite standing stones.
The Almendres Cromlech standing stones
Over the centuries, many of the stones had toppled over, so during the 1960s a major reconstruction program was undertaken to replace the stones. Not all of the 95 Menhirs (standing stones) are identical: some have carved images, while others have deliberately smoothed surfaces.
Major Stones of the Almendres Cromlech
Interesting and unique stones of the Almendres Cromlech include:
Stone 48: Features a small figure holding a staff or crosier.
Stone 57: Was purposely flattened on one side and displays a series of thirteen images representing objects of ancient social prestige.
Stone 56: Has the representation of a human face and is considered as a menhir statue, possibly of a god or deity.
Stone 76: Has an anthropomorphic figure with similarities to that of stone 56.
Stone 64: This stone is located near the centre of the main ring and displays heavy engraved patterns.
Stone 58: Is the primary stone and indicates a connection with the stars, as the representation includes three solar disc and lines indicating sunrays.