Orada is a Transition Educational Community promoting and bridging spiritual, ecological and transformative embodied experience and retreats, towards a Transition into new attitudes and paradigm community living. We are nestled in the heart of a nature sanctuary in the woods of Odemira, Alentejo, South West Portugal, bordering Algarve.
We focus on organic farming and conscious nutrition, meditation and nature contemplation spaces. We are space holder community, a force for innovative possibilities, new mindsets, not a guesthouse, hotel nor a restaurant.
Orada was founded on the vision that nature, health, sustainability and community are fundamental insights to Transition out of the toxicity of modern times. It is a place to get inspired to redesign life on Earth and manifest that awakening.
Here several important creeks carved the landscape and merged together, creating an abundant lush vegetation and epic valley vistas. There were plans to establish Orada as the capital of the region but the depth of the creek made it unpractical during the winter months. Centuries later São Teotónio parish, on a plateau 3 kms south, was established and the village grew to be the most important town in the Odemira council.
Monte da Orada dates back to at least the XII century, it was known as the "Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Orada" (Our Lady of Orada Sanctuary). Its water fountain was considered sacred for its baths and it was a mandatory stop on route to Monchique and Algarve, it was a known stop of the general and cannonised mystic Saint Nuno of Santa Maria (aka Santo Condestável, D. Nuno Alvares Pereira). The cult of Orada peaked in the XIV century, but there are signs of pre-christian (pagan) origins.
One legend goes that a pilgrim stopped at Orada for sometime to recover from illness and as a token of gratitude carved the wooden statue (found inside the temple) from one of the Ash trees along the creek. Later, this statue was seen simultaneously at Orada and at the São Teotónio parish. This episode is still in the memories of elderly that used to come every August 15th in pilgrimage to Orada, as late as 70 years ago.
In 1969 the Santa Clara irrigation canal was inaugurated, scarring the green Orada landscape with concrete slabs, the main aqueduct and main tunnel. Presently, 50 years past, nature as recovered and it provides endless water to Orada and the whole region, closing a a protective water triangle around all main buildings.
The name Orada can mean both "prayed for" and "prayer" and in some old municipal records spelled as "Ourada" (Golden one).
When you come visit, you will be the judge of that, hopefully it will be part of your personal history.
"The valley spirit never dies;
We call it the mysterious female.
The gates of the mysterious female -
These we call the roots of Heaven and Earth.
Subtle yet everlasting! It seems to exist.
In being used, it is never exhausted."
Tao te King