In the distance, it’s a dark hole, straight out of science fiction. Up close, Covão dos Conchos is a remarkable engineering work in Serra da Estrela. Don’t miss it.
Anyone approaching Ribeira das Naves, in the Serra da Estrela, sees a kind of drain in the distance, a hole that seems to want to completely empty the crystalline waters that rest there. It is the Covão dos Conchos, a funnel that one would say came out of a science fiction scenario and that has already become famous internationally.
The truth is that there is nothing supernatural about this structure. Quite the contrary, it is a work conceived and carried out by man and a true engineering marvel. So, first let’s explain why that black hole is there. Afterwards, we will give way to the popular legends that grew there.
Covão dos Conchos: Enigma in Estrela
When observing Covão dos Conchos from a distance, you can basically see that in the middle of a lake a kind of black hole appears, a perfect circumference, where the waters rush in and, mysteriously, disappear. Well, it is true that the waters rush into the hole, but there is no mystery as to its destination.
That funnel is the entrance to a tunnel, built in the 1950s, which leads the water collected in Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida, located much further down. The tunnel in question is 1519 meters long, making this structure a fantastic engineering work. Covão dos Conchos has been there for over 60 years and has always fulfilled its role perfectly, helping to take advantage of the waters of the largest of the mountain lakes for production and electricity.
Part of the power plant system elderberryin Poço Negro, the small dam Construction on Lagoa Comprida began in 1912 and was completed in 1955. The enigmatic hole, Covão dos Conchos, is the entrance to the canal that collects water from Ribeira das Naves and takes it to the reservoir. As you can see, nothing from another world, but still a landscape that demands a long visit.
how to get there
Access to Covão dos Conchos is done on foot, through a road that starts from Lagoa Comprida, meandering through the wonderful landscape of the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal. It is not an easy route, alternating between reasonable and difficult, with many loose stones that can hinder the walk.
It’s approximately five kilometers long, but along the way you’ll find a series of interesting attractions, among the cutouts of the huge Estrela stones. And when you get to Covão dos Conchos, you’ll see that the walk is really worth it. Don’t forget your camera, or your cell phone battery, because you’ll be able to stunning images.
Legends on the mountain ridges
The most remote places, and sometimes almost inaccessible, turn out to be fertile ground for popular myths and legends. So, on your way to Covão dos Conchos, don’t forget to admire the fantastic Lagoa Escura, another of the wonders of Serra da Estrela. Over time, stories of bottomless lakes, the appearance of strange objects and frightening sea eyes were told.
According to the notes consulted in the Virtual Museum of buttersLagoa Escura was the one most suited to fantastic legends, which caused a certain panic in the inhabitants, especially in the shepherds who wandered with their cattle through the highland pastures.
connection to the sea
Reports of the wreckage of an alleged ship that was found there quickly led to the theory of a connection to the sea. When the members of the 1881 scientific expedition to Serra da Estrela got in touch with the locals to find out about the alleged wreckage, they were told that a certain wealthy gentleman who lived around here had built a device, barge or boat to play there, device that was there and as it deteriorated, its wreckage on stormy days could be seen in the lagoon.
The inhabitants believed that Lagoa Escura would be a bottomless lagoon that hid great treasures, (perhaps the theory of that rich gentleman who wanted to explore this lagoon is not so unreasonable, perhaps to look for such treasures, because if it were for the pleasure of riding a boat Lagoa Comprida would be the best choice). The stories about this lagoon do not end here. The shepherds said that when it was dry, no one could venture into it, as there was a risk of disappearing there. Even cattle, by their natural instinct, avoided her.
However, despite the legends, the landscape is breathtaking, just like Covão dos Conchos. As soon as there is an opportunity, do not miss it. To whet your appetite, watch this video, made by Probilder, using a drone: