VIRAL

When a Portuguese village that had been submerged under water for 2000 emerged

Nearly two years have passed since Portugal’s drought conditions became well known, placing strain on the country’s key water supplies and productivity. Vilarinho da Furna, a 2000-year-old town in Portugal’s Minho area, once showed its broken walls—which had been wrecked by a Portuguese Electric Company—when it rose above the water in a very unusual event.

In 1972, the community was flooded. After the municipality of Terras de Bourno constructed a museum in São João do Campo in 1981, it became a popular tourism destination. The museum was constructed using stones from two of the village’s drowned homes and has a collection of clothing, farming implements, and artworks that show everyday life in the community.

The Atlas Obscura story states that the building of a dam at the Rio Homem River caused the community of Vilarinho da Furna in northern Portugal to be drowned. 1967 saw the start of it. Through this dam, a massive hydroelectric project was intended to provide the region with power. Vilarinho da Furna was located close to the river’s downstream. About 300 people lived in the town during construction, divided into 57 families living in 80 different dwellings. See the submerged town in Portugal that surfaced as a result of the country’s dry weather.

The Portugal Electricity Company gave the locals money in exchange for their leaving their homes when they complained against this. Even their necessities could not be satisfied with this little amount of money. Reports state that a total of 20,741,607 escudos—the Portuguese money at the time—were given to the peasants.

By warning the people about the potential consequences of releasing the water from the dam, the hydroelectric firm instilled fear in them. Alarmed by the result, the locals began to leave Vilarinho da Furna on a regular basis. The surviving residents left the settlement overnight as the water level rose, taking anything they could carry with them. The last person to live in this community left in 1971.

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