27 iunie 2014
The charming town of Monsanto, an ancient settlement perched on the side of a mountain in the Portuguese countryside, boasts some of the most incredible sights on Earth. Featuring tiny streets carved from rock and granite houses squeezed between giant boulders, it looks like a real life Bedrock.In 1938, Monsanto was named ‘the most Portuguese town in Portugal’ which seems strange, considering most buildings in Portugal aren’t sandwiched between two boulders, or have massive rocks hanging above them, but its awarded standing of open air museum, has allowed it to keep its outwardly appearance throughout the years. Due to building restrictions in the area, Monsanto’s appearance hasn’t changed in centuries and has managed to retain its original charm.
Although many of the buildings in Monsanto are unique to this place, like big boulders fitted with doors that lead into living quarters carved from sheer rock, the small town does feature some elements of Portuguese architecture, like the houses and church built in Manueline style, and others influenced by medieval Romanesque. The narrow streets just wide enough for a donkey to walk through climb four hundred feet up a very steep hill, at the top of which lie the ruins of a Templar castle.
Source : Odditycentral.
17 aprilie 2014
The Rua Augusta Arch is a stone, triumphal arch-like, historical building and visitor attraction in Lisbon, Portugal, on Commerce Square, built to commemorate the city’s reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. It has six columns (some 11 m high) and is adorned with statues of various historical figures. Significant height from the arch crown to the cornice imparts an appearance of heaviness to the structure. The associated space is filled with the coat of arms of Portugal. The allegorical group at the top, made by French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels, represents Glory rewarding Valor and Genius.Originally designed as a bell tower, the building ultimately transformed into elaborate arch within more than century-long delays.
5 decembrie 2013
The Fort of São João do Arade, sometimes referred to as the Castle of Arade, is a medieval fortification situated in the civil parish of Ferragudo in the Portuguese Algarve municipality of Lagoa.The first fortification on the site consisted of a watch tower erected in the reign of King John II of Portugal. Later, following the settlement of Ferragudo (around 1520), it is believed that the castle was encircled by a defensive wall (built on the rudimentary walls of the older walls): giving rise to its original name Castle of Arade.
The origins of the Fort of Arade (or Ferragudo, as it is also known) date back to the Philippine Dynasty, and the need by the Habsburg rulers to defend the coast of the peninsula from attacks by pirates and privateers in service to the Crowns of northern Europe. Yet, even at the beginning decades of the 17th century, no fortress was constructed owing to the indecision on whether to locate the fortification on the left or right margin (location of Vila Nova de Portimão).
Engineer Alexandre Massai defended a new construction in Portimão, while the left margin proposal (in Ferragudo) was defended by the municipality of Silves. According to a report by Alexandre Massai, the battlements already existed in 1621, since he refers to “um sítio cercado chamado Ferragudo” (“a walled site called Ferragudo”).
7 mai 2013
An underground tunnel with a spiral staircase, supported by carved columns, down to the bottom of the well through nine landings. The nine hole round landings, separated by fifteen steps, evoke references to Dante’s Divine Comedy, and may represent the nine circles of hell, paradise, or purgatory.
The well is connected to laberíticas caves that lead to a spooky garden surrounded by a lake.
The land that is now Quinta da Regaleira had many owners through time. But in 1892 it belonged to the Barons of Regaleira, a family of rich merchants from Porto, when it was purchased that year by Carvalho Monteiro for 25,000 réis. Monteiro wished to build a bewildering place where he could gather symbols that would reflect his interests and ideologies. With the assistance of the Italian architect Luigi Manini, he designed the 4-hectare estate with its enigmatic buildings, believed to hide symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians. The architecture of the estate evokes Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline architectural styles. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and most of it was concluded by 1910.
6 mai 2013
The Douro is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto.The name, Latinized Durius, may have come from the Celtic tribes that inhabited the area before Roman times: the Celtic root is *dubro- and in modern Welsh dŵr is “water” with cognate dobhar in Irish.
The Douro vinhateiro, an area of the Douro Valley in Portugal, has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Traditionally, the wine was taken down river in flat-bottom boats called rabelos to be stored in barrels in cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. In the 1950s and 1960s, dams were built along the river ending this river traffic on Spanish and border sections. Now Port wine is transported in tanker trucks.It is the third longest river in the Iberian Peninsula after the Tagus and Ebro; its total length is 897 kilometres , of which only sections of the Portuguese extension are navigable, by light rivercraft.
The Douro fully enters Portuguese territory just after the confluence with the Águeda River; once the Douro enters Portugal, major population centres are less frequent. Except for Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia at the river mouth, the only population centres of any note are Foz do Tua, Pinhão and Peso da Régua. Tributaries here are small, merging into the Douro along the canyons; the most important are Côa, Tua, Sabor, Corgo, Tavora, Paiva, Tâmega, and Sousa. None of these small, fast flowing rivers are navigable.
In its Spanish section, the Douro crosses the great Castilian meseta and meanders through five provinces of the autonomous community of Castile and León: Soria, Burgos, Valladolid, Zamora, and Salamanca, passing through the towns of Soria, Almazán, Aranda de Duero, Tordesillas, and Zamora.
19 aprilie 2013
The Pena National Palace is a Romanticist palace in São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.The palace’s history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, the construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.In 1493, King John II, accompanied by his wife Queen Leonor, made a pilgrimage to the site to fulfill a vow. His successor, King Manuel I, was also very fond of this sanctuary, and ordered the construction there of a monastery which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome. For centuries Pena was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks.
In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lightning. However, it was the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, occurring shortly afterwards, that took the heaviest toll on the monastery, reducing it to ruins. Nonetheless, the chapel (and its magnificent works of marble and alabaster attributed to Nicolau Chanterene) escaped without significant damage.
For many decades the ruins remained untouched, but they still astonished young prince Ferdinand. In 1838, as King consort Ferdinand II, he decided to acquire the old monastery, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors and a few other estates in the area. King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. The commission for the Romantic style rebuilding was given to Lieutenant-General and mining engineer Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege. Eschwege, a German amateur architect, was much traveled and likely had knowledge of several castles along the Rhine river. The construction took place between 1842–1854, although it was almost completed in 1847: King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened decisively on matters of decoration and symbolism. Among others, the King suggested vault arches, Medieval and Islamic elements be included, and he also designed an exquisitely ornate window for the main façade (inspired by the chapter house window of the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar).
After the death of Ferdinand the palace passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla. The latter then sold the palace to King Luís, who wanted to retrieve it for the royal family, and thereafter the palace was frequently used by the family. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910 it was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum. The last queen of Portugal, Queen Amélia, spent her last night at the palace before leaving the country in exile.
The palace quickly drew visitors and became one of Portugal’s most visited monuments. Over time the colors of the red and yellow façades faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely gray. By the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original colors restored, much to the dismay of many Portuguese who were not aware that the palace had once displayed such chromatic variety.