Santuário Rupestre de Panóias (Panoias Sanctuary) – Vale de Nogueiras, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

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Santuário Rupestre de Panóias (Panoias Sanctuary)

Vale de Nogueiras, Portugal

This Gallo-Roman sanctuary is dedicated to Serápis, god of the underworld.  


This sanctuary was constructed during the late 2nd-century and early 3rd-century.

The cult of Serapis started in Egypt and was later adopted by the Greeks and Romans, until Emperor Theodosius banned all pagan cults and adopted Christianity as the official religion in 391 CE.

It’s believed there were originally 11 rocks, as recorded by early archaeologists, but only a small part is currently accessible.

The sanctuary is composed of tanks of different sizes and shapes, votive inscriptions, building foundations, and access steps. Everything was carved in the granitic rocks outcrop.

Today, only three inscriptions remain in Latin and one in Greek. They contain the instructions of the rituals celebrated, the identification of the gods, and who dedicated the site, Gaius C. Calpurnius Rufinus, a member of the senatorial order.

From the inscriptions, researchers learned that animals were sacrificed at the site, their blood was collected in a bowl, and their entrails were then burned in a sacred rite performed by priests

Know Before You Go

The sanctuary is located in the village of Assento, near Constantim, Vila Real. There is a small center with an exhibition and explanations about the site.

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