|Location:||São Mamede, municipality of Batalha, only 2km from Fátima. A1 exit N 356 Fátima Batalha, to Fátima, signposted at roundabout. (39° 37' 27.2" N, 8° 42' 17.3" E)|
OCT to MAR daily 9-17.
APR to JUN daily 9-18.
JUL to SEP daily 9-19.
Adults EUR 5, Children (6-12) EUR 2.50, Children (0-5) free, Cartão Jovem EUR 3.50, Family (2+3) EUR 15.
CICA: Adults EUR 3.50, Children (6-12) EUR 1.50, Children (0-5) free, Cartão Jovem EUR 2.50, Family (2+3) EUR 21.
Cave+CICA: Adults EUR 7, Children (6-12) EUR 3.50, Children (0-5) free, Cartão Jovem EUR 5, Family (2+3) EUR 10.
|Guided tours:||L=350m, VR=45m|
Grutas da Moeda, Largo das Grutas da Moeda s/n, 2495-028 São Mamede, Tel: +351-244-703838, Fax: +351-244-703831.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1971||discovered by two hunters while chasing a fox.|
The name of this cave is Grutas da Moeda (Coin Caves) derived from an old legend. One day a wealthy man with a purse full of coins was travelling through this area. When passing a daylight shaft, the deep pit of a cave entrance, he was attacked by a group of robbers who planned to loot his purse. But as the man started to defend himself a fight started, during which the man was killed and fell into the cave, but unfortunately for the robbers the purse fell too. The coins scattered down into the pit and were never recovered. The pit was hence called Algar da Moeda (Coin Abyss).
The cave Grutas da Moeda was discovered only 40 years ago, in 1971, and the story of this discovery is almost a cliché. Two huntsmen chasing a fox saw it enter a natural hole under the bushes. They entered the hole too and discovered a beautiful cave with numerous speleothems. During the next months, the two hunters explored the cave on their own, then they revealed the secret and the cave was explored by speleologists. The part they initially explored, matches todays show cave.
Actually there seems to be no connection between the coin legend and the newly discovered cave, we guess the name was choosen because the old legend took place in the same area.
The cave is also the location of the Centro de Interpretação Científico-ambiental (CICA). This seems to be a combination of an educational centre and an exhibition of minerals and fossils. This exhibition is rather big, more than 3,500 items of minerals. The most outstanding item is probably a meteorite weighing 13kg. There are numeros fossils, most of them originating from the local limestone. The collection gives insights into the sea life during the deposition of this limestone. The centre may be visited similar to a museum, but there are also special events for schools.
Nearby is the small cave Cova da Moura (The Moor's Pit) with an underground bar inside.
The cave consists of a circular tour, in one entrance and out the other entrance. The speleothems have the following names which I think indicates to sort of visit one can expect: Nativity Scene, Shepherd, Cascade, Virgin, The Red Dome, Marine, Flawed Chapel, Wedding Cake and Spring of Tears.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.