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Monsanto, A Unique, Quiet Town in Portugal

Many of the houses are built on, in, under, or between massive boulders.

Ann Moises

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  • Monsanto is a village dubbed as ‘the most Portuguese town in Portugal’ in 1938.
  • This amazing tourist spot is famous for the houses built on, between, in, and around huge boulders.
  • Remnants of an old castle built by Templars Grand Master sits at the top of the mountain.

Monsanto is a quiet, medieval town twelve kilometers from Idanha-a-Nova and three hours away from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. It was dubbed ‘the most Portuguese town in Portugal’ in 1938.

However, the houses from the rest country are not like the ones in Monsanto. Here, many of the granite houses are built on, in, under, or between massive boulders.

The boulders form part of the homes, either as walls or steps.
Also, the narrow, cobbled streets, just broad enough for a donkey, are carved from rocks.
The town is situated on a 758 meter high mountain, and so it offers a breathtaking view of the countryside.
There were evidences that prove people inhabited Monsanto since the Paleolithic era.
Likewise, proof of Roman, Visigoth, and Arabian occupation have been found.
In 1165, King Afonso Henriques seized Monsanto from the Moors and handed it over to the Templar monks.

The Order of the Knights Templar then built a castle on the summit, which survived several battles including the Napoleonic invasions.

In 1815, however, a magazine powder keg exploded and partially destroyed the castle. Tourists can still visit the castle with its many intact walls and towers to this day.

Furthermore, the view from the castle, which stretches as far as the Serra da Estrela and the Spanish border, is even more remarkable than the view from the village.

During festivals, particularly on the Festival of the Holy Cross, dancers use the plaza below the castle entrance. Women climb the hill carrying marafonas (rag dolls) and throw clay jars with flowers from the castle walls.

Monsanto’s charm has not changed much. In fact, they are not allowed to make changes in the village since it is considered a living museum.

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Kazakhstan Uses Borat’s Line “Very Nice!” For Its Tourism Campaign

Borat actually helped attract tourists to Kazakhstan.

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  • Kazakhstan recently released a new tourism campaign using the catchphrase "very nice" repeatedly throughout the clip.
  • The leaders in Kazakhstan were furious after the release of the first Borat film, in which the country was portrayed as homophobic, sexist, and anti-Semitic.
  • The government now wants tourists to see that Borat's home country is nicer than what people generally know.

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The Pyramid of North Dakota

This six-billion dollar military facility was abandoned after four months.

Ann Moises

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  • The massive concrete pyramid that sits in the small town of Nekoma was built together with the entire Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex (SRMSC) in the 70s.
  • It housed military men and radar systems designed to protect the Grand Forks Air Force Base missile field from possible nuclear attack.
  • SRMSC controlled 30 anti-ballistic missiles ready to be launched as a counterattack.

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Alberobello, An Odd Yet Beautiful Place With Unusual Homes in Italy

No, they’re not for gnomes.

Ann Moises

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  • Alberobello is located in the region of Puglia in Italy.
  • It has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 due to the peculiar, traditional homes specific to the area called Trulli.
  • Trulli are white-washed houses with conical roofs painted with symbols.

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