Citânia de Sanfins (PT)

Paços de Ferreira is situated in the Entre Douro and Minho region, in the Ave Valley area, the heartland of the Castro Culture (Cultura Castreja in Portuguese, Cultura Castreña in Spanish). The walled villages and hill forts dating to the late Bronze Age and Iron Age, the castros, citânias or cividades in this area are larger than elsewhere.

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Citânia de Sanfins is one of the most important Castro Culture sites in the North-West of the Iberian Peninsula. It is about 15 hectares large and was used in the Iron Age.

The site was first studied in 1895 with major excavations between 1944 and 1967. It was declared national monument in 1946. After 1993 a plan was executed to turn the site into an open air museum which meant restoring, signposting, reconstructing and adding facilities like a reception, coffee area and shop. The excavated artefacts are showcased in the “Museu Arqueológico da Citânia de Sanfins” which is only 1 km away.

The fort is a good example of city planning. It has a north-south axis with several smaller lines crossing it, turning the site into a clear system of quadrangular blocks with residential units as well as circular dwellings, areas with a ritual character as well as baths located outside the urban area, complete with a circular furnace, sauna, patio, vestibule, supply & drainage channels and a spring which is still functioning. The fort is surrounded by walls with strengthened entrances and ditches.

One of the residential units is reconstructed to present the large family units which were the basic nucleus of the Castrejo society.


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