Tamera is an eco-village in the Alentejo region of Portugal. It is a peaceful place, laboratory of the future, love research centre and a vivid community on its way to a sustainable autarky.
The cultural centre
I started my exploration at the cultural centre „Terra Nova“, which contains a shop, a café and is an open space to meet; celebrations or meetings are held there.
Within just a few minutes I reached the „Aula“, an auditorium for events and meetings. Looking inside I was amazed about its huge wooden roof-construction. It is the largest straw bale building on the Iberian Peninsula. Not less than sustainable, environmental friendly architecture, well integrated into nature will make up the village of Tamera. But this is still a long way to go, as only few buildings could be realised so far.
Lake Number 1
The „Aula“ is built beside the lake, which was designed and constructed with the help of the Austrian permaculture specialist and „agrarian rebel“ Sepp Holzer and forms part of the water retention landscape, that consists of several lakes and swales to store rainwater. Before, the land was dry and eroded, now it became fertile with a great bio diversity.
Plants at first sight, seem to grow wildly and uncontrolled, but at second glance the more educated eye will make up a highly sophisticated (but super natural) food forest and garden. I discovered the „Bee Garden“ and passed the „Seed Garden“, where Tamerians collect seeds from partly old species with the aim of growing organic food with their own seeds.
The solar test field
I was curious about arriving at the „Solar Village”, which is meant to be a little campus on its own. The „Solar Village“ is now more a museum, as it hosts most of the prototypes of solar-technology research like the Sterling-motor – a pump, that works sun driven, the solar-heated greenhouse, the solar cooker and a biogas production tank. The newest versions of all of those inventions are far more effective or smaller or better and come into operation in projects all over the world, says the project leader. A café-like terrace is the main meeting point and centre of the campus, the open kitchen with the solar cooker supplies in summer food for around 100 people daily. The campus hosts also the Ecology Team, that has an own house with community room there.
The reception area
I took a quick break at the reception, that consists of an info-desk, an office, a small library, a terrace with WIFI and view, where (mostly) guests have breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is a popular meeting spot and many use the chance for a skype-call with „the outer world“. Just behind is the professional kitchen, where the cooking team provides vegan food for up to several hundred people, depending on the season.
The main area
Next to the reception area is the „Global Campus“, which is a container like huge building, that contains a kindergarten-like children’s place, a seminar room for forums, talks and presentations were also guests can spend their free time. The first floor is used as a dormitory (as well as the back side of the Aula) for around 20 or 30 people, as there are only few rooms for guests due to building restrictions.
Also within less than a minute walk you reach one of the sanitary facilities – compost-toilets, a community-shower (one for women, one for men) and a place with 2 professional community washing-machines, where clothes tumble (flattern) in the wind.
The guest house
On the other side of the village about 5 min walk is the guest house, all built with sustainable materials, that holds a little library and a green courtyard with view over the village.
The horse sanctuary / tent camp / „Aldeia da Luz“
There is a horse and a dog sanctuary (the only captive animals in Tamera), a tent camp and a place where community members or guests stay with their caravans. There is the „Aldeia da Luz“, also an eco-friendly building, that is home for and project of the elders, containing a sewing workshop and a herbal-production. Beside, there is a carpenter workshop.
The Stone Circle
It is situated on the top of the hill and is probably the most sacred place in Tamera. With its 96 marble and granite stones, it is the perfect place for celebrations, rituals and energy place for people as well as guests.
So let’s move back to the Tamera-experience! Here we go…