"The "Levadas"" Top 5 Page for this destination Funchal Off The Beaten Path Tip by salinhopt
Funchal Off The Beaten Path: 49 reviews and 55 photos
In addition to the natural beauties of Madeira, the region offers a man-made wonder in the shape of the traditional irrigation system of Levadas. These are ideal for the walker.
The Levadas represent living testimony to our ancestors? efforts to bring fertility to the steep mountainsides and valleys by diverting the abundant sources of water that would otherwise cascade uselessly from the mountaintops. These Levadas represent the arteries in a vast circulation system that permitted the otherwise arid soil to be actively cultivated and people to settle up in the island?s highest regions.
Normally cut trench wise into the ground, the Levadas have also been cut directly into living rock, and built over rocky clefts or sheer precipices hundreds of metres deep. Others delve under mountains by means of tunnels hundreds of metres long. They cover the island from north to south with an extension of 100 km (62 miles).
Tracing the route of these Levadas on foot allows walkers to enjoy the very best island views, to recharge their batteries through contact with nature, and at the same time to contemplate the links between Man and Nature, and his efforts to tame its forces.
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