The Portuguese region of Alto Douro has produced wine for 2 millennia. Its landscape is an outstanding example of human activities. The landscape showcases a representation of activities that are involved in winemaking. These include; terraces, chapels, roads, villages and the wine producing farm complexes known as ‘quintas’.
The Alto Douro region is shielded from the Atlantic winds by the Marao and Montemuro mountains. The UNESCO listed property is located on the northeastpart of Portugal, between Mazouco and Barqueiros on the border with Spain.
The landscape’s terraces blend into infinity with curves of countryside. The river Douro and its tributaries such as Corgo, Torto, Pinhao, Varosa and Tavora form the backbone of the property. The property is defined by a succession of watersheds. The most noticeable physical features in the landscape include roads, mountain ridges, watercourses and paths.
The landscape is further enhanced by the Demarcated Region of Douro that is boxed by steep hills. The area itself is made up of a flattened plateau that rests about 400 meters above the sea level.
The Douro valley is today water filled behind dams. The soil that is found here has been manufactured and is prevented from erosion by the walls constructed along the steep hillsides.
The landscape is characterized with white-walled villages that date back to the medieval times. There are also the casais that are located midway up the valley sides. From the 18th century you will find churches, rows of houses and a web of narrow winding roads that are notable for their vernacular architecture.
The Douro quintas form major landmarks that are easily identified by the farm buildings around the main house. Within the UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites, you will find no church or shrine of value. However, the landscape is dotted with a series of chapels located on hills and manor houses.
The Douro area is endowed with landscapes that every photographer dreams of. The area is serene, idyllic, quaint, picture perfect…pick the adjective and you will still come with up with the same conclusion – an area you should visit.