Anta de Pavia – Pavia, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

Anta de Pavia

Pavia, Portugal

Pagan monument converted to Christianity with the population. 


Even without its history, the Anta de Pavia would stand out. In the dead center of a square in Pavia, surrounded by white-washed, red-roofed buildings, is a giant boulder that has stood there for centuries.

Originally a dolmen, the 4 meter high stone was used as a burial chamber before paganism fell out of favor. When Christianity supplanted most other beliefs, the massive rock was re-designated a small chapel dedicated to São Dinis in the 17th century. The inner chamber of the dolmen was turned into the nave of the chapel, and although it remains sparse, the interior features a small blue-tiled altar.

While the chapel is an interesting landmark, it is even more so as it tells a common story of the conversion of medieval Portugal, and many similarly converted pagan structures exist across the country. However not all Portuguese have given up the old ways and while praying to Christ, many are known to slip in a prayer to the old gods.

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November 17, 2011

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