One of the most beautiful Portuguese cities
City Museum of Evora (Altu Alentejo Province, 130 km from Lisbon)
Xieu Cathedral in Evora
One of the most beautiful Portuguese cities, which in fact is a tourist attraction in Portugal, is located closer to the east of the country, in the province of Altu Alentejo. This is the city-museum of Evora, framed by wonderful olive groves, vineyards, flowering meadows that turn the town into a real garden. The city itself includes a lot of historical attractions – ancient buildings, temples, palaces, cathedrals, reflecting the rich history of the city.
The history of Evora began about two millennia ago, and for many centuries was formed under the influence of the culture of the Romans and the Moors, which is why the city of Evora is considered the spiritual center of the country. The historical part of the city is surrounded by fortified walls, and inside the labyrinths of its narrow old streets, ancient restored buildings intertwined with sunny areas of the Renaissance, viewing platforms, Gothic churches, cathedrals and palaces in the style of manuelino. In general, buildings of different eras here are an unusually colorful mix of architectural styles of different eras.
It is difficult to meet such an accumulation of historical and architectural monuments concentrated on such a small territory elsewhere. Numerous historical monuments, as well as fine cheeses and wines attract visitors from all over the world to Evora. In 1986, the city-museum of Evora was recognized by UNESCO as a monument of world culture.
Guimaraes Castle (Guimaraes)
Ancient Guimaraes Castle
The Portuguese city of Guimaraes is the cultural and historical center of the country, and its main symbol is the medieval castle of Guimaraes, which has become a historical landmark of Portugal. Today, the castle was restored and practically did not preserve its original appearance, and the fortress on the site of the castle, Monte Largu hill, was first erected in the 7th century. The castle acquired its modern appearance much later – in the 12th century.
Until the end of the 9th century, this territory was dominated by Arabs and was called Vimaranesh. Later, when the Portuguese conquered these lands, the owner of the fortress was Count Diogo Fernandez. In those days, a man’s monastery was founded at the foot of the hill, a single dungeon was erected and surrounded by a protective wall, and a small settlement arose around the monastery. The fortress gradually strengthened, grew and expanded.
Many years later, the castle passed into the possession of King Leon and Castile – Alfonso VI Henry of Burgundy, who founded his residence here. Later, the first king Afonso Henriques I, who was born and raised in these walls, completely rebuilt Guimaraes. In the 14th century, the entire settlement was surrounded by a defensive wall, 8 gates and 8 towers 28 meters high each were erected.
Over time, the fortress lost its military significance, many fortifications were dismantled. And only in the 30s of the 20th century, the castle was completely restored. Today, the castle has the shape of a heraldic shield, of the 28 towers only 4 have survived, each of which has stone stairs. A suspension bridge connects the central gate and the western wall. Visitors can inspect all the premises of the fortress and climb its walls, which offer beautiful views of the city of Guimaraes.
Cascais Resort City (Lisbon, Estoril Coast)
Colorful corner of the resort of Cascais
Not far from the Portuguese capital, off the coast of Estoril, there is a small beach resort town of Cascais. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Cascais was the summer residence of the royal family, making this town a pioneer of tourism in Portugal. Today it is one of the most prestigious Portuguese resorts that have preserved the unique atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
The lands where urban life in Cascais is raging today were settled by the first inhabitants in the 12th century. The resulting settlement, due to its advantageous geographical position on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, near the capital, quickly grew and began to flourish, and these lands subsequently more than once became the subject of battle between different nations. Today, this historic center is literally filled with architectural treasures.
Therefore, when planning a trip to the city of Cascais, you will certainly find what to visit in Portugal – a lot of attractions of your choice are concentrated here:
So, one of the outstanding historical monuments was the Palace of the Palacio de Conde de Castro Guimaraes, which has a colossal collection of books, of which there are more than 25 thousand;
Museum do Mar – a museum that displays objects that reflect the history of Cascais and local fishing;
the cliff of Boca de Inferno – in translation its name means “Devil’s mouth”, which very well reflects the impression it makes here: during a storm, the waves beat against the rocky coast with such force that a very impressive noise resembles the roar of a wild beast;
Palmela Park – a popular venue for urban open-air concerts;
Guinche is a beach that attracts windsurfers with its high waves.