Capela de Nossa Senhora de Aracelis – Corte Pequena, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

Capela de Nossa Senhora de Aracelis

Corte Pequena, Portugal

Before this rocky hill was home to a chapel, it was used as a lookout by Romans and Moors. 

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On a rocky hill on the border between Mertola and Castro Verde sits a small chapel called Nossa Senhora de Aracelis (Our Lady of Aracelis). The name Aracelis comes from the Latin ara coeli, meaning “altar of heaven.”The chapel itself was built in the 16th century, but the site was used as a lookout by Romans and Moors long before that.

The view is absolutely amazing and it is said that you can see another six chapels from there as far away as Loulé in the Algarve. The chapel is usually closed, but during the last weekend of August there is an annual pilgrimage to the site. An image of Our Lady of Aracelis is carried around the hill, a tradition that is said to bring good news for the coming crops.

Know Before You Go

To get there just take the detour to Corte Pequena on EN122 from Beja to Mertola. The road to the chapel is not paved so if it rains it can become quite difficult to reach even by car.

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