Sights of Portugal
Quite small in size, Portugal nevertheless combines the richest historical heritage and numerous ancient fortresses, cathedrals and palaces, mild climate and beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, calm hospitable people and modern resorts. The beaches of the Algarve (southern province of the country) and the islands of Madeira, the resort areas of Estoril and Cascais, the balneological resorts of Caldas da Rainha and Caldas de Monchique, all this attract more than 10 million tourists from all over the world every year.
Lisbon (“favorite bay”) is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, spread out on the hilly slopes of the Tagus river valley in the region of its confluence with the ocean. The city has a well-recognizable “face” formed by an abundance of old buildings, steep stairs, funiculars, paved streets of old quarters, many tiny parks with ponds and convenient panoramic terraces to the Mirador.
The city center is considered to be the picturesque, mosaic-paved square of Rosiu with bronze fountains, variegated flower beds, a statue of King Pedro IV and the building of the National Theater of Don Maria II. To the north of Rossio Square lies Rashtauradoresh Square with the pink Palacio Foch Palace, from which the central highway of the capital begins – framed by chestnut alleys and built up with rich mansions, restaurants, hotels and chic shops Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). It ends on the round square of the Marquise de Pombal (or Rotunda) with a monument to the very Marquis-reformer in the center.
To the north of Rotunda, a green massif spreads along the hillsides. The San Georges fortress (St. George, V century), founded by the Visigoths, is located on a hill in the eastern part of the city. Over the course of its long history, the fortress was rebuilt more than once, it served as a royal residence and prison, here Vasco da Gama celebrated the success of his expedition to India, and now from the observation deck of the fortress you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the city. The area of Alfama, which surrounds the foot of the castle hill, is the oldest part of the city, from here the Roman, and later the Moorish, Lisbon began. Low stone houses with tiled roofs frame the picturesque steep Alfama streets, paved with cobblestones.
An interesting Romanesque Cathedral of Xie, which was built in 1150 on the site of a mosque, as a symbol of the victory of Christians over the Moors, is the oldest temple in the city.
The sights of this area also include the Church of Madri de Deus (Our Lady, the beginning of the 16th century), the Carriage Museum in the center of Vasco da Gama and the Miter Palace (17th century) with the Museum of Lisbon. In the western part of the city you should definitely visit the old quarter in the Bayro Alto area, São Bento street, Ratu and Amoreiras squares, as well as the palace of the National Assembly (1834), the church of St. Vincent do Fora, San Domingo and Loreto , Municipal palace with elegant staircases, numerous mansions of the Portuguese nobility and explore the 66 m high Roman Svobodny Aqueduct. Lisbon’s commercial center, the Baixa district, differs sharply from the rest of the city with its clear street layout. There are no palaces or churches, but a lot of banks and department stores. Here is one of the many funiculars – the openwork metal tower of Elevador de Santa Zhusta, built on the model of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which offers a magnificent view of the upper and lower cities.
In the vicinity of Lisbon are the picturesque mountain range of Arrabida and the beautiful coasts of the “Blue Coast” and Costa do Sol, the aristocratic estates of Azeitau, as well as many impregnable medieval fortresses and castles turned into “pause” hotels, cozy restaurants and cafes.
Porto – one of the oldest cities and the former capital of the country, appeared in the VI century. BC e. on the right bank of the Douro River. It is interesting to visit the Cathedral rebuilt from the old fortress (XII-XVIII centuries), the granite tower of Clerigos (XVIII century, height 75 m. – the highest church tower in Portugal), the Franciscan church of San Francisco (1233), the Town Hall with 70-meter bell tower (1920), a masterpiece of Portuguese baroque architecture of the XVIII century. – The Episcopal Palace with the Mashado de Castro Museum, a two-tier bridge over the Doura (length 172 m.) And the São Bento station with huge tiled wall panels, designed by the Eiffel. You should definitely walk along Avenida dos Aljados with impressive houses of the late XIX – early XX centuries, visit the bustling coastal quarter of Ribeira, the famous wine cellars or a colorful and noisy market. The oldest in Portugal Botanical Garden of Porto (1772) is an excellent example of late baroque garden art, beautiful old greenhouses and a castle-type park have been preserved.
For 300 years now, the main cellars for storing port have been located in the suburbs of Vila Nova de Gaya and the port museum of its kind is located.
The Archbishop’s Palace (XVII century) surrounded by a beautiful park now houses a Museum with Roman relics, and the Roman sanctuary of Fonte de Idolu (I century A.D.) is considered one of the best preserved in the country.