Visit the Ancient Espigueiros do Lindoso

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The way locals used to dry and store their corn, and still do. These communal, agricultural, granite structures used for storing and drying grains, vegetables, and in my grandmother’s case, later case, her laundry on days when it was raining. If you didn’t know, Portuguese, and Europeans, for that matter, typically hang dry their laundry. We also used to keep the baby chickens in our espiqueiro, which we called a caniço. It would prevent the stray cats from eating them. One time when I was super young, I woke up to chicken feet all over the caniço  floor. Some sly, little cat squeezed its way through to a hefty lunch.

When my husband found out about the espigueiros, he asked me what was with the Portuguese northerners having these strange, above, ground, open, stone caskets things? Both Galicia and northern Portugal have thousands of these granaries scattered throughout the region. They are typically built of stone or wood. Each is decorated with a stone cross at each end. In Galicia they are called hórreos and in Portugal espigueiros, canastro or caniço. They were placed on a high point above the village so that rodents couldn’t get to the corn drying inside. The walls have small openings so the air can circulate among the corn cobs, which are piled inside.