These pictures taken in March 2010 are unfortunately a little hazy due to heavy sea mist and high humidity.

Portuguese landscape
Portuguese landscape

As you drive through the countryside of the Algarve and Alentajo regions you cannot fail to notice the Portuguese landscape features many abandoned houses – ruins as they are called.  I often wonder what happened to the occupants and why they abandoned their homes. Was this the price of progress? People no longer wanted to live off the land and therefore moved to towns to find work? Or perhaps the owners died, their siblings had moved on, and these old houses unwanted and unloved abandoned to fall into disrepair. I attempt to paint a picture in my minds-eye of the family who lived in the house pictured below, but I fail miserably. Their life so different my imagination could never do them justice.

These wonderful old ruins do arouse my curiosity because we are not just talking about a few ruins, they litter the landscape like discarded candy wrappings.

Why? I would love to know why?

Old ruins are a common feature of landscapes in the Algarve
Old ruins are a common feature of landscapes in the Algarve

“Landscape” is this week’s photo theme for the “SUNDAY POST” over at Jake’s blog. Why not join in as this is not just for wordpress bloggers?

45 thoughts on “Landscape

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  1. The explanation for the ruins is very simple :
    The land is extremely poor ,that’s why properties had to be huge and a few land owners had almost all of it . Many families lived totally isolated mainly looking after small herds of cattle in houses known as “montes” because they were normally on top of a hill .Those “montes” are now in ruins because because people just left for a better life when they had a chance ,leaving behind only poverty and destitution .So there is nothing romantic or sad about what you see !


    1. Hi manuel and welcome 🙂
      No I don’t feel romantic but saddened by so many abandoned properties that they are not sold on and then restored, but from Sami’s comment above I understand why. I can only imagine how hard it was to live off the land in such isolated places and diffiucult conditions. Yes, some are not isolated now, but go back in time…
      Interesting info re “montes” . thank you 🙂


  2. Hi there, I saw you had commented on Rufus´ blog and was intrigued by the name of your blog! I love what I see – we adore Portugal and try to drive over as often as we can. I agree with Sami about the buildings, it´s the same here in Spain – people are obliged to leave property to nearest living relatives and often they can´t agree how to share the property, won´t sell and then they just decay and fall into ruins. So sad.


    1. Hi Chica and a warm welcome to sunny Portugal! I love rufus blog and recipes and I should comment more.
      Which part of Portugal do you visit?
      It is the same with abandoned properties here in Portugal I believe and confirmed my Sami’s and manuel.m ‘s comments


  3. I think the humidity and sea mist added something very nice to the pictures. I love them. If walls could talk huh? Wouldn’t it be so very interesting to be able to learn who once occupied places such as these? Hugs


  4. When I first saw the top photo I suddenly asked myself if there were lions in Portugal. Then I mentally slapped my face and looked again. Not lions but cows! Talk about not paying attention!


  5. Quite some time ago, Cindy did a similar post about abandoned farms in South Africa.

    Perhaps, when people can’t make a go of it in the country . . . they move to the city.


    1. Hi Nancy I can imagine farming on a small scale was very difficult and life was hard.
      South Africa has it’s own history. We met someone in the UK who had a farm there and he had to abandon it and escape with his life!


  6. Ruins are awesome. One time I climbed a big hill made of boulders in Morocco and there were ruins on top of it. People had actually lived on top of that hill, which I literally had to climb. How did they do it??? Better yet, why?


  7. So true and sad! Most of the times it´s because people died and the lands, buildings, etc are not properly registered, then the family who inherits it has a lot of trouble to sort it out. Other times the descendants inheriting it, are just so many, they don´t agree on how to share the stuff, or they just can´t sell it off, as not many people want to work in the country or off the land… We actually own a piece of land in the center of Portugal, where we meant to build a house sometime in the future (had we not come to Australia) and it has an old brick and tile shed, falling apart, due to weather, old age, disrepair, but it will just sit there until it all falls down. It´s been on the market for close to 5 years, and no takers. Maybe one day we will have enough money to build a little retirement/holiday home.


    1. Hi Sami,

      thanks for sharing an insight as to the possible reason why. I wondered if it had anything to do with the revolution?

      When you retire to your plot of land you will be able to grow veggies!


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