Lisbon is the westernmost capital of Europe, the pearl of Portugal, a city with more than 2000 years of history. Travelers love this city for several reasons: local color, unique atmosphere, delicious cuisine, proximity to the ocean and mild climate.
In the era of great geographical discoveries Lisbon was among the European capitals and surpassed them for luxury. Empire flourished – a thousand ships with gold, precious stones, silk, chocolate, spices and slaves annually were in the mouth of the River Tagus.
The city of unique “lace” architecture and a record number of stairs seemed to flow from seven hills to the marble embankment. Everything changed in 6 minutes on the Day of All Saints, on the morning of November 1, 1755. The terrible earthquake, followed by fire, and after him and tsunami boom town turned into ruins and took over 100 thousand. Lives. The famous palaces, libraries and churches, 70 thousand. Volumes and manuscripts, creation Rubens, Titian and Caravaggio, diaries Vasco da Gama Bridge were irretrievably lost. The next few decades, the city slowly rose from the ashes. From “old” Lisbon remained not only Alfama district with narrow winding streets built by the Moors yet, but many other monuments of the Middle Ages – Se Cathedral, Aqueduct of Free Waters monastery Yeronimitiv, watchtower in Belem, rebuilt and restored stone by stone to its original appearance.
Today, Lisbon – the city where mixed all known architectural styles, and he is clearly divided into historical areas with their color, structure, and specific people.
25 kilometers west of Lisbon is the town of Sintra, which from ancient times was a favorite place for hunting and resting royal families and nobles. The city and its hills are lined with fabulous palaces and fantastic villas that captivate visitors for centuries.
The Romans made this place the cult of the worship of the moon and called it “Cynthia” in honor of the goddess of the moon. They followed the Moors, who also fell in love with the lush vegetation of this locality, and built a castle on the hill, a palace and several fountains around the city. Later, the palace became the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and attracted the attention of the wealthy aristocrats who built in the district huge mansions and villas.
The famous British poet and traveler Lord Byron stopped here in the eighteenth century, and wrote that the city “maybe in all respects is the most charming in Europe,” called it “glorious Eden.” Now there are about 30 000 people, and the annual number of guests is twenty more.
This is a truly unusual place, a combination of history and fantasy protected by UNESCO as a monument of the World Heritage. Fairy-tale palaces, incredible landscapes, outstanding museum collections are waiting for you: the royal palace of Queluz, the National Palace, Pena Palace, the Setaish Palace, the Moorish Castle, the Capuchin Monastery, the Regaleira Estate, the Cape of Rock (the westernmost point of Europe) – here is an incomplete list of places that obo Catching up for Sintra.
The Mafra Town, located 40 kilometers northwest of Lisbon, is known for its palace monastery, the most spectacular example of the Portuguese Baroque, built in the 18th century by the order of King Juan V.
The richness of the river flowing from Brazil has caused King Juan V a desire to eclipse the Spanish Escurial with magnificence and grandeur, and on the occasion of the birth of the heir, he began to implement the conceived.
Even today, the town of Mafra seems to be an accumulation of toy houses in comparison with the palace: the height of a three-storied city house does not reach the eaves of the second floor of the palace. Here is the world’s largest collection of bells that can be heard within a radius of 20 km.
In the central baroque façade there is basilica with two bells, and on the sides there are two large square towers with domes. In the chapels of the monastery church there are large marble altars. Pink and gray marble are present everywhere – in the lining of walls, in columns, statues and other architectural details. Royal rooms are furnished with luxurious furnishings and decorated with paintings of the 18th century.
The ensemble includes also a huge monastic library, in which 40 thousand volumes are preserved, including the precious first editions of “Lusiadash” by Luis de Camojosha, the Bible from 1514 and the early edition of Homer in Greek. Other rooms are also open to visitors. It is interesting to examine a hospital, a pharmacy with bizarre medical instruments, a kitchen. Behind the palace – the land of the former royal hunting, and now – the park of wildlife, open for excursions, where laid 20-km tourist route.
The town of Evora, the capital of the province of Alentejo, has an extremely rich history. It is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the only Portuguese city-museum in the club of the oldest cities in Europe.
Evora is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. This is a true open-air museum with lots of beautifully preserved UNESCO protected monuments and buildings as World Heritage sites. Every century has left its mark and in the image of the city it is clearly traced. Town-planning of the Romans, Moors, Portuguese royal dynasties – all architectural styles can be found in Evora.
The most famous symbol of the city is the Roman temple or the temple of Diana.
The picturesque area of Giraldo is surrounded by arctic galleries with columns of ancient origin, with a 16th-century marble fountain in the center and the Church of Sant Antau. At the time of the Inquisition, the place of execution, and now the square is filled with numerous cafes and shops.
In the largest medieval temple of Portugal – the Cathedral of Ce, which was founded in 1186 and finally completed in 1250, is the oldest organ in the XVI century in Portugal.
In total, 20 churches and 8 women’s monasteries have been preserved. One of the most interesting churches is the Church of San Francisco, built in Manueline-Gothic style in 1510, according to legends buried in it by the Portuguese navigator, Jean Vistzente.
The church has the famous bell chapel, with 5000 monks decorated with bones and skulls. The inscription above the entrance testifies: “We are waiting for your bones here.”
Near the center of the city preserved aqueduct, built by the Romans under the reign of Quinta Sertoria and reconstructed in 1531-1537 years.
15 km south-east of Evo is the Cromleague Almendrish – “Portuguese Stonehenge” – the most important group of megalithic monuments on the Iberian Peninsula, consisting of almost a hundred enormous rounded monolithic granites, some of which engraved symbolic drawings. It is believed that the stones were used for religious purposes in a culture that flourished on the Iberian Peninsula, and then moved to the north – to Brittany and Denmark.
Alcobase is known first of all by its abbey Santa Maria de Alcobasa. Founded in 1153 in honor of the victory over the Moors and finally completed in 1223, today it is the largest church in Portugal and one of its most prominent architectural monuments.
The abbey is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its excellent conservation status makes it the best example of Cistercian architecture in Europe. It is also the largest building of the Cistercian Order.
The complex is constructed in Gothic style, consists of five monasteries, seven bedrooms, libraries and a huge kitchen.
Under the transverse gorge of the Gothic Cathedral, there are magnificent, carved many carvings of the Tomb of King Pedro I and his beloved Ines de Castro – a testimony to one of the most tragic love stories in Portugal.
To the east of the gallery of the monastery are two impressive doors of the XVI century in the Manuelian style, decorated with exotic foliage. On the west side of the southern nave is the Hall of Tombs – a funeral chapel containing several tombs.
The northern passage leads to the beautiful two-storey Monastery of Silence, founded in the XIV century. Here is the Royal Hall, in which along the walls are statues of the kings of Portugal.
Not far from the kitchen, described in the XVIII century by traveler William Beckford, as “the most prominent temple of almonds in all of Europe.” The height of the ceilings of the kitchen is 18 m. Near – a huge fireplace and a garden for the fish. The adjoining room is a refectory, huge with vaulted ceilings, where the monks ate silently, listening to the Bible from the department. In front of the entrance is a bathroom of the XIV century, decorated with a hexagonal fountain.
In addition to this unique church, the small town of Alcobaz is famous as a center for the production of porcelain and ceramics. Many shops are located around the central square, and factories organize excursions to the production.
Obidos is the most romantic city in Portugal, which completely preserved medieval views. Remaining within the boundaries of the fortress wall, the city is a true exhibit of an open-air museum and declared a national monument of world heritage, also known as the “Wedding Present”. The thing is that it was a gift from King Dinish to Queen Isabel on the day of their wedding in 1282. Many Portuguese monarchs spent here a honeymoon, and the queens willingly relaxed while their men were engaged in public affairs.
Obidush is a town with incredibly picturesque cobblestone streets, with colorful buildings decorated with geranium and bougainvillea, Gothic doors and windows, white churches, surrounded by 13-meter walls of the castle of the XII century – an ideal place to admire the panoramic views of the city. Here is the Church of Santa Maria, built on the site of the Visigothic church of the VIII century, where the 10-year-old King Afonso V married his 8-year-old cousin Isabel in 1444.
Every July there are celebrations that recreate the Middle Ages with music, knights, witches and theatrical performances. In November, during the International Chocolate Festival, Obidos becomes the world’s capital of chocolate, where the most incredible chocolate products and sculptures are presented.