Heritage - Património Arqueológico | Cadaval Cativa

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National Monument 'Royal Ice Factory'

The industrial complex of the Real Fábrica do Gelo, classified as a National Monument in 1997, is a unique technological structure in Portugal, dedicated to manufacturing natural ice. The first information regarding the construction of this snow factory dates from 1741, being in 1782 the opening of a new phase, after the factory’s amplification work by one of the most important owners of this unit, the snowmaker Julião Pereira de Castro. This factory kept working until 1885.

The manufacture the natural ice, this snow factory was composed by three functional areas:

·         Water elevation and distribution area – presently constituted by two wells, a water wheel house and a reservoir tank (151 militres of water), its function was to elevate and store the water and distribute it through the freezing tanks. This area used to integrate a second reservoir tank of large dimensions.

·         Freezing tanks or ice trays – a group of shallow tanks sequentially organized, so that the water would circulate between them. In its final period, the ice factory had yet another set of tanks. It was in these tanks that the water was placed (with about 10cm to 15cm depth) to freeze. Once it was frozen, it was collected (once broken and gathered in piles) before sunrise, and transported to the storage wells.

·         Storage wells and shipment area – this area includes two storages wells (the largest with 346m3), where the ice was compacted so to avoid melting losses, a room where the ice was cut and packed and a third well where the final packs were stored and prepared to be shipped.


The snow factory’s production of natural ice was meant to supply Lisbon, the Royal House as well as some cafes, namely Martinho da Arcada, a property also belonging to the factory’s owners. The ice transportation was a difficult task due to the inexistence of fast routes. To ease this difficulty, the Royal House would issue legal benefits to the Icemen so that were able to transport the ice, which was done though the south slopes of Serra de Montejunto Moutain until the Tejo River and from there to Lisbon. 

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Quinta da Serra, Montejunto
2550-367 Lamas CDV

Tourist Office of Câmara Municipal de Cadaval
Tel. (+351)262 777 888
Cell.: (+351) 916 371 944/ 916 782 628
Email: turismo@cm-cadaval.pt

GPS 39°10'41.28"N | 9°3'1.60"W

GPS 39°10'41.28"N | 9°3'1.60"W

Info extra 

Horário de funcionamento:
De segunda a domingo, com visitas guiadas às 10h00; 11h00; 14h00 e 15h30.

No caso dos dias feriados, por favor contactar 262 777 888

Adulto: 2 euros
Crianças até 12 anos: entrada grátis
A partir dos 65 anos: 1 euro