Archive for the ‘Portugal’ Category

The Old Quarter of Porto, Northern Portugal

Portugal > Porto

May 2014

About 320km north of the capital Lisbon lies Portugal’s second largest city, Porto. Located on the Douro river estuary, it was founded by the Romans in the 4th century BC. Being a Roman outpost, it carried the name ‘Portus Cale’ which is said to be the origin of the name ‘Portugal’. The Muslim Moors invaded it in 711, but were chased away by armies of King Alfonso III in 868. Porto was the northernmost point in Portugal the Moors’ empire extended to.

Porto, meaning ‘port’ in Portuguese, became a key port in the 14th-15th century, and thanks to Prince Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese ‘Age of Discovery’ was initiated from here. Prince Henry himself was thought to have been born in Porto, based on the fact that he was baptised here.

Porto is also the home of the famous port-wine, produced in the fertile Douro valley located upstream of the river.

In this short visit to Porto, I take a stroll from the modern port-wine Gaia area of Porto and cross the Douro river, via the Luis I Bridge. This brings me to Ribeira, the old quarter of Porto, with buildings from the 15th century, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here facades covered with azulejos tiles (introduced by the Moors in the 8th century) look spectacular in late afternoon light. Looking a bit decrepit, but notable nevertheless.

Please view in HD.

 

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The Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Portugal

Portugal > Sintra

May 2014

Just 30km west of Lisbon, lies the amazing cultural landscape of Sintra, with structures dating back to the Moors of the 8th century. This area is located right inside the verdant forest of a large national park which stretches all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. It has a long history of Portuguese architecture and culture, first occupied by the Romans, then the Arab Moors, who built a precipituous castle atop a mountain overlooking the plains all the way to the Atlantic. It used to be the playground for the Portuguese royals of the 12th-20th century, and many aristocrats owned and built properties here. The outcome is, the place is littered with palaces, stately homes, beautiful buildings, gardens, monuments and houses of worship. As such it plays host to thousands of visitors who drop by every year to savour the essence of Portugal. Spectacular Sintra earned the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, so we decide not to miss it.

Please watch in HD.

 

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The Historical City of Evora, Portugal

Portugal > Evora

May 2014

Just 130km east of Lisbon, along the main expressway to Madrid, lies the historical city of Evora, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evora is famous for its well-preserved Roman, Gothic and Baroque buildings, thus compressing 2000 years of history in a compact place. It is late evening as we drive into town, on the way back from Elvas to Lisbon. Its quaint narrow cobblestone lanes and whitewashed buildings are relics of its Moorish past, and always a pleasure to saunter along, as we bump into one spectacular building after another.

Please watch in HD.

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The Old Garrison Town of Elvas, Portugal

PORTUGAL > Elvas

May 2014

Elvas is an ancient town located 220km east of Lisbon, just 10km away from the Spanish border. Its importance as a heavily fortified garrison town, guarding the vital Lisbon-Madrid road in the 17th-19th century, earned it the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.

We rented a car in Lisbon and travelled along the main expressway towards the Spanish border, which is also the direct way to Madrid. Elvas dates back to the 10th century but it was not until Portugal’s (regained) independence (from Spain) in 1640, that the town was heavily fortified to guard its frontier with Spain, and the main road between Lisbon and Madrid.

Please click below for HD slideshow.

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Lisbon, Capital of Portugal

Portugal > Lisbon

May 2014

We did a trip to Portugal during May 12-19, 2014, with destinations denoted by the red dots below. We landed in Lisbon, and rented a car to drive to the other spots.

As mentioned our first (and last) stop was Lisbon, an interesting city full of character, and immensely rich in history and culture. Portugal was a world power in the 15th-16th century, during the golden Age of Discovery, and Lisbon was the launch-pad.

These are the slideshows of our walkabouts during the time in Lisbon. Please watch in HD 720p, thanks!

 
LISBON (Part 1)
 

 
 
LISBON (Part 2)
 

> THE END

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