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Covão dos Conchos: the water hole in Portugal that looks like a portal to another dimension

2 min read

Despite its appearance, Covão dos Conchos, the surreal-looking opening in Portugal’s Lagoa da Serra da Estrela is actually not a portal to any other time or place, but rather a manmade funnel leading into a 1,520 meter tunnel.
Despite it looks like a natural sinkhole lined with cascading waterfalls, it is, in fact, not a natural wonder, but a wonder of engineering.

This lake, or pond rather, in the Serra da Estrela mountains was artificially created in 1955 during the construction of the nearby hydroelectric dam.
Instead of building a pipeline to channel water between Lagoa Serra da Estrela and Lagoa Comprida, the engineers working on the project decided to drill a tunnel through the mountain to connect the two lakes.
Gathering the water by drilling through the mountain, rather than building and placing a large pipeline up and down the mountain was really ingenious.
The spillway, that has a height of 4.6 meters and a circumference of 48 meters, is designed to provide region and nearby communities with fresh water, but the fact that no other constructions are present nearby makes the funnel seem more like a part of the lake than a part of an artificial project.
Moreover, there are plants growing around the edges of the concrete and granite drain pipe, making the giant hole look even more natural.

It is located in the Serra da Estrela (“Star Mountain Range”) natural park, which contains the highest mountain range in Central Portugal. The highest point is 1,993 metres above mean sea level, and boasts a ski resort at the summit.
The hike leading to the sci-fi-looking spillway, far from any big city, starts at Lake Comprida and is around 6 miles (10 km) long.
It was a little-known secret in Portugal until photos of the hole went viral in 2016.

Images from web – Google Research