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Sow of Murça


The Porca de Murça is a granite sculpture made of a single stone 1.70 m long, 58 cm wide and about 1 m high, probably one of the oldest vestiges of indigenous and Castro culture in Portugal. Erected 2500 years ago, it is one of the most famous images of this territory. In the geographical area that extends through the center of the Iberian Peninsula, covering mainly the region of Trás-os-Montes, zoomorphic statues (geological structure, a single piece of rock) proliferate, huge granite monoliths, represented quadrupeds, which are mostly known as Pigs or Sows, depending on the interpretation of the sex, to which within the archaeological field, the name of "berrões" is attributed. This is a "Pig", which is, in fact, a life-size pig, or bawling. This zoomorphic statue, which you can see in the center of Murça, is thought to have come from another part of the county, probably from the Cadaval hillfort where pre-Celtic peoples settled. The exchange of the male gender for the female is due to the fact that the choice of the latter conveys fertility, renewal of generations, and above all life and prosperity. The existence of these statues is today an enigma in the field of peninsular proto-history, with various versions and meanings. It recalls an old Castro cult that worshipped animals as protective gods, with the purpose of warding off calamities, theft, disease and other evils to which the animals of the herds or flocks are subject and, by extension, perhaps the people themselves and their belongings. It was normal for these crude statues to exist, symbolizing males worshipped as venerable deities, capable of protecting and maintaining the fertility of the species, or simply linked to the cult of the dead, or even to territorial landmarks. Although it is one of the most elegant and best preserved specimens, the Murça sow is not the only example of its kind. There are currently more than 52 similar zoomorphic statues in Portugal and more than 42 in Spain. They preferably represent tame pigs, but also wild pigs or wild boars, bulls, rams and bears. The area where they are most abundant is the north-east, especially Bragança, Vila Real and Guarda. In Spain, they are concentrated in the districts of Salamanca, Cáceres and Zamora. It is still difficult to determine the exact location where the berrons would have appeared and the relationship with the places where they are found. In the 1930s (1931, 1932), the statue and its trappings were moved to Praça 31 de Janeiro. Legend has it that in the middle of the year 757 (8th century), the town that resided here was plagued by a large number of bears and wild boars, but the lords of the village, supported by the population, from so many mounts they made that they extinguished 'such a harmful beast', or chased it far away. But among this multitude of quadrupeds there was a sow (others say a bear) which had become the terror of the people because of its monstrous size, its ferocity, and because it was so cunning that it could never have been killed by the hunters. It was then that the Lord of Murça, a knight of great strength and not the least courage, decided to kill the sow, and he used such maneuvers that he succeeded, freeing the land from such a troublesome guest, that in memory of this feat the monument so acclaimed by the residents of this village was built, and so known throughout the globe. The Nut of Murça, in addition to its outstanding historical and monumental value, is the identifying symbol of the village. In this sense it has become trivial to hear from outside the expression: "Murça - the Land of the Nut". From within it is seen with great respect because it portrays an affective feeling of collective pride. In this way it has become untouchable in its material and legendary identity and protected by all who live here.




Largo 31 de Janeiro | 5090-111 Murça
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