It can be hard to visit monuments with little kids, so it is always a good idea to engage them in a game. If you visit Alcobaça, a beautiful abbey in the middle of Portugal, you can ask your kids to go on a treasure hunt. They can look for stones with carved initials and photograph them. This game can turn an otherwise boring visit into a memorable one.
Masons often carved their personal marks on stones placed in the parts of the cathedral where they worked. They did it to show pride in their work but also to claim the work as theirs so they could get paid.
Centuries later, these signatures remind us of the humble people whose hard work created a legacy of enduring beauty.
8 thoughts on “The Alcobaça game”
This is awesome!
Reblogged this on The Portugal Years and commented:
If you travel with children, it’s always a good idea to have something for them to entertain themselves. This is the Portuguese version.
Such incredible signatures! Do we know when these were carved? They’re unbelievably contemporary in the way they were stylized. Thank you for sharing this!
The monastery was under construction between the 12th and the 14th century. The signatures are probably from 14th century master masons. They are amazing, no? There are dozens of them.
They’re absolutely fantastic. Plus I love spirals – they always make me happy :).
A little gift of Val Abraham in automn, near Porto and Villa Real, a real nice place…
Very nice article! We’ll share it on twitter,