This is the eye-popping, mind-bending village of Monsanto in Portugal. The village’s houses are tucked between, on, underneath, and inside giant boulders. The area was originally settled in prehistoric times because its vantage point at the top of a mountain* made it an ideal place to both spot and repel hostile forces.
*Okay, technically, it’s at the top of a hill, Monsanto hillock (Mons Sanctus), but since that ‘hill’ is 758 meters high, I’m just going to go ahead and promote it to a mountain.
There are several little towns scattered along the bottom of the hill which were settled when the population started moving towards the plain, but Monsanto is far and away the oldest. And because the 200-ton boulders aren’t easily moved, the town has retained most of its Medieval structures. Of course, the early city planners didn’t plan for vehicles, so nothing larger than a donkey can pass the narrow, winding streets. All in all, a fascinating place to visit!
You can read more about Monsanto on the Visit Portugal website.