The Interpretation Centre – House of the Rural World is in the village of Prados, which is located in the foothills of Serra da Estrela. This museum centre opened on November 15th, 2008 with the purpose of portraying the daily lives of our people in the early twentieth century. To successfully complete this project, a house with traditional architecture was restored, with the use of regional materials (granite and wood). This type of houses, which for many years filled the cultural landscapes of our villages have been progressively replaced by another type which usually no longer uses the materials of the region, breaking the almost natural symbiosis between landscape of granite and natural environment.
The mission of the Interpretation Centre of Prados is the collection and preservation of local heritage, acting not only as memory safeguard instrument, but also as instrument of affirmation and diffusion of local identity, allowing the visitors to experience and observe everyday traditional rural life.
This museum centre also recreates a period in which the facilities inside a house were virtually nonexistent, recalling the experiences of older people and showing younger generations what seems like a surreal setting when compared to nowadays living conditions, of what it would be like to live in a house without running water, electricity, a bathroom or telephone.
Thus, the House of the Rural World is in close dependence of local building materials. According to shape, there are two distinct types: North and South, both rectangular and generally with pitched roofs. The house of type Centre/North is essentially characterized by having two floors, a ground floor store designed to keep livestock, implements and agricultural products and a living floor where the kitchen, living room and bedrooms are. These two floors are nevertheless independent. The entrance to the housing floor is made via an external staircase of stone, parallel or perpendicular to the facade, with a porch in front of the main door. The blocks on the walls are visible, more or less regular, just overlapped without mortar, plaster or whitewash.