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Infrared Photograph: Hermitage

Hermitage of St John of the Desert

The Buçaco Palace Hotel in Portugal is built in a forest that used to be the sole preserve of a group of monks. In 1628 the Barefoot Carmelite monks built a convent and surrounded the forest with a wall. Women were forbidden to enter by order of the Pope. When a monk wanted to be even more alone he would take himself off to one of the hermitages scattered among the trees and these steps lead up to one of those deserted refuges. The place is called the Ermida de São João do Deserto and if you look very carefully you might just see a ghostly figure rising from the gateway.

Photo by Andy Finney

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