You use them! 🙂
As promised on my previous post today I will tell you about a specific type of architecture, let’s call it “folk architecture”.
Meet the espigueiros, built with stone (and sometimes a mix of stone and wood) and which have been, for centuries, allowing people in the Minho region to keep their corn dry and safe from rodents. Although they’re usually found in Minho you can also spot them in other parts of North and even Central Portugal. They’re a great example of how humans can survive and thrive in harsh conditions.
In a place where stone seems to be the most common construction material people came up with a way of protecting their crops using, well, stone! The espigueiros are used mainly to keep corn, but they’ve been around since before the Discoveries (probably since before the Middle Ages, actually).
Here’s the deal, in a nutshell: Corn is harvested in Autumn and must be left to dry during the Winter, ie, when it’s cold and damp. These structures have vertical cuts on the side walls, making it possible for corn to dry without without letting mice get in to take a nibble. They also have different types of “marks” (usually on the locks), so the owners will know which espigueiro belongs to which family.
These particular examples of espigueiro can be seen near the castle of Lindoso and some of them were built in the 18th and 19th centuries!