Sagres Wind Rose
The navigation school founded by Henry the Navigator at Sagres fortress played a key role in Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. On entering the fortress site, one of the first things to catch the eye is a huge circular stone paving measuring 43 metres in diameter. The Rosa dos Ventos or "Rose of the Winds" as it has since become known, was only excavated in 1919.
There has been much speculation as to what purpose the rose served. Some believe it to be a kind of compass which may have been of practical use in the navigation school. Others think it may have been a sundial, and there are even theories that it has some long-forgotten mystical properties. The age of the rose is also unclear although it was only rediscovered in 1919. It is possible that it dates back to the time of Henry the Navigator, but is more likely to originate from the 16th century.
Whatever its age and whatever its original purpose was, it looks pretty impressive and the views out to sea from the battlements here are quite breathtaking.