Road Trip

Rio de Onor: one of the last community villages in Portugal

On the Portuguese side, we have Rio de Onor. On the Spanish side, Rihonor de Castilla. Ficou confused? Não fica só nessa sensação, já que Saramago, when he passed by here, or ficou, descrevendo a experiência no livro Viagem a Portugal, from 1981: “At the end of the day, where is the border? How is this country called, here? Still in Portugal? Já es Espanha? Ou é só Rio de Onor, e nada mais do que isso?”.

Rio de Onor is crossed by the border between Portugal and Spain, however, for the inhabitants of this village of the municipality of Bragança, the border is just a formality. A população até treats the two villages (Portuguese and Spanish) as “povo de acima” and “povo de abaixo”. They often crossed the border freely, and the population of two countries has many times land on the opposite side of the border.

Rio de Onor is a community village, which means that the inhabitants partilham some things and intertwine. Partilham, for example, or forno comunário, there are agricultural lands where everyone has to work, and a herd grazes on these lands. However, today, this community lifestyle is not practiced, since the inhabitants have a more advanced idea.

River of Honor

Hoje, to great hope two few inhabitants of Rio de Onor is or tourism. The village has a national projection and there are more and more tourists than visitors. A large part of the houses is to be rehabilitated and rebuilt with care to preserve its original layout so that the spirit of this transmontane village is not lost.

Perhaps this is a better way to give a new life to this village. We remain in Rio de Onor about 50 inhabitants, with an average age of over 70 years. Em, 1950, there were 398 inhabitants. Rio de Onor joins hundreds of inland villages that are destitute. Agriculture, which can barely be subsistence, does not provide enough income for a good quality of life. It is not tourism that is deposited with hopes.

The village was the winner of the “7 wonders of Portugal” in 2017, in the category of villages in protected areas, once it is included in the Montesinho Natural Park. Thanks to the prize, or tourism ganhou nova força in the region. In 2019, the village received 5,200 visitors at Casa do Touro, a museum space dedicated to the culture and history of this unique village.

No museum, can learn more about the communitarianism of the village, one of its most well-known characteristics. The museum itself was built in the building that originally housed the community tour of Rio de Onor.

River of Honor
River of Honor

There was also a dialect of the village, which is now extinct: o rionorês, which belongs to the group of Asturian-Leonese, such as o mirandês. But just two or three people from the village manage to talk rionorês fluently. Some two thermos are identical to each other mirandesmore or dialect em si assemelha-se mais ao castelhano.

What to visit in Rio de Onor

A visit to this village will show you a typical transmontane place, with its wooden houses and verandahs in Madeira. Do not walk on top, lived with family. Em baixo, cheer up. Few rooms have been opened on traditional days, existing, however, houses in ruins.

The landscapes are also worthy of note, being able to have a clear view of the Montesinho Natural Park. Also, walk along the streets of the village, admire the landscape, visit the church and the Roman bridge, as well as the remains of a community life that are worth knowing, like the forge and the mill. Above all, try to talk with the inhabitants of Rio de Onor, who will gather with open arms and share stories that you will never be able to find in books.

Or what to visit around Rio de Onor?

Located in the heart of the Montesinho Natural Park, Rio de Onor can serve as a center for discovering several other villages in the park, in addition to the surrounding nature. The villages of Montesinho and Gimonde stand out, but Guadramil is also worth a visit.

One of the best ways to explore the region is by taking several official and marked walking trails. The highlights go to the Trilho de Rio de Onor, to Rota da Lombada and Rota dos Cervídeos.

The great highlights go, however, to Bragança (not the Portuguese side) and Puebla de Sanábria (not the Spanish side). Both are well-known with well-preserved historical centers and full of points of interest. Gastronomy is another two strong points of the region. The main star is meat, especially when grilled on the grill or feita no forno.

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