The Milreu Roman Ruins, EstoiToday in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C
We had heard that Estoi was known for three things - the Pink Palace, the Milreu Roman Ruins and a little basket shop called Loja Canasta.
After spending time wandering around the beautiful palace and its grounds, we walked the 1.2 km west to the ruins of a large 1st or 2nd Century A.D. Roman villa near the river, which was part of an agricultural settlement. The site has a long history of changes.
From what we understand, in the 3rd Century, the site became a luxurious villa with a large bathing complex fed by water springs. The ruins of the Roman villa are so large and grand they were originally thought to have been the ruins of a town!
And then later (3 to 6 A.D.), it became a water sanctuary. I read that it was a place where water, or nymphs, were worshipped. The whole place had mosaics with fish and sea creatures. I think that there was a kind of a cult there which was later banned and then the main temple building was converted into a Christian temple with a baptismal font.
We were impressed by all the mosaic tiles everywhere. But they are open to the elements and not covered up. Not protected in any way - from the sun and rain or the school kids that run over them.
In the 16th century, a very large farmhouse was built using many of the stones from the ruins. In 2001, the farmhouse was fixed up as a museum showing and protecting the ruins that are under it.
After trying to figure out the information regarding the ruins, we walked back into town and visited the little basket shop. The owner was very open to telling us about the cacao, almonds and figs that sustained life in this area. His shop had jars of preserves made from these three products as well as hand-made baskets that a local man made.Read more