When we got the Horta, we knew we needed to preserve this important landscape and architectural heritage. That led us to renovate the house and transform it into a rural tourism unit.
To help us with this project, we resorted to several people. The architects took what was left into consideration and the renovation work respected the original design while adding beauty and comfort. We used local materials and worked with local artisans.
We wanted to offer the most authentic experience possible. We ensure quiet and the chance to do nothing, in a place where you can hear the birds and the water flowing. One of our guests once told us while checking out: “thank you for the silence”.
In the tiny, intimate room, before the house’s new wing, you can see the original pathway of the old water carrier that still runs outside and that we wanted to be viewable from inside the house.
Our story and mission
Tourism is a viable business for the 11 hectares-large olive grove that we grow organically and that has old olive trees that were already here when my grandfather arrived. Some are thousands of years old! To keep the olive grove is a way to honour the land that belonged to my grandfather and my father.
After the renovation work, the building won the Salúquia de Arquitectura award given by Moura’s City Council.
Our guests can stroll through the olive grove, admiring the creek, and enjoy the different fruit trees we have in the garden: oranges, pomegranates, persimmons, figs, pears, mulberries, and more. We kept all the local plants that not only add beauty and fragrance but are used as shelter by some of the wild animals.
Giving others time
In Moura, olive groves are what keeps the region alive. Other businesses employed a lot of people before like the factories of Água do Castello (a Portuguese brand of sparkling water) and Nodar (sausage factory) but they closed. Nowadays, producing olive oil is the most traditional activity here: there used to be more than 40 olive presses in Moura and around these creeks.
The cooperative is the largest producer of olives in the country, and Moura’s olive oil is certified as DOP (stands for designation of protected origin).
Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller olive groves are being destroyed when they’re sold and transformed into intensive production fields. Intensive olive groves are an outrage against the landscape heritage and for other reasons.
Our olive grove is 11 hectares in size and has some trees that are thousands of years old. An olive grove this small would be economically unsustainable if we depended on it for profit. But we chose to keep the tradition alive and became certified organic farmers: we process our olives into organic olive oil. We’re one of the few organic producers in the area, so our olive oil sells out quickly.
Moura is known as the land of whitewashers ("caleiros", a Portuguese word used by the people in Serpa) because we produce the lime used to whitewash the houses. The walls of our accommodation house don’t have a drip of lead. They’re all whitewashed.