Portugal is a country for people who, above all, value comfort and enjoyment. Slowly strolling through the Portuguese streets, you can feel the atmosphere of France or Spain. There is no rush familiar to large tourist cities.
The country honors traditions, a rich historical and architectural heritage, the main value for the Portuguese is the family. Of course, the inhabitants of the country know how to enjoy life, surrounding themselves with comfort and creating it for travelers. If you want to see the real Europe – proud and beautiful – come to Portugal, enjoy the aroma of eucalyptus and oranges, try the famous Portuguese wine and plunge into the atmosphere of sad fado music.
Portugal is the westernmost European state located on the Iberian Peninsula. On two sides – west and south – the state is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, in the east and north – it borders with Spain. The country covers an area of 92.1 square kilometers, with a population of 10.7 million people.
Photo: Porto City Porto City
In addition to the mainland, the country includes the Azores and the Madeira archipelago. The capital of the country is Lisbon, the only state language is Portuguese.
Portugal is a unique state; during its existence, the country experienced rapid ups and downs into a deep abyss. In the 16th century, it was a powerful superpower, it included many colonies, but soon the state was in the margins of Europe. Today, Portugal is experiencing another rise.
It is safe to say that sailors from Portugal changed the world forever. It was the Portuguese who were the first to venture into the waters of the Atlantic and proceed along the coast of Africa.
Photo: Vasco da Gamma Vasco da Gama
The famous navigator Vasco da Gama was the first to reach the western coast of India. His fleet was the first to set foot on the coast of Ceylon and Sumatra. This event marked the beginning of trade relations between Portugal, China and Japan.
Portuguese sailors were the first to reach the shores of South America and landed in Brazil. According to some historical data, it was sailors from Portugal who sailed to the shores of North America before the Columbus expedition.
The first sea voyage around the world, carried out by the Spaniards, but it was led by the Portuguese Fernando Magellan. The captain was not able to triumphantly return to his homeland, but the Portuguese sailors won world fame.
Manueline style building Manueline style, Hotel Bussaco
The Portuguese became famous not only thanks to the courage of sailors. The unique style in architecture, called manuelino, is the personal contribution of Portuguese masters to world architecture. A distinctive feature of the style is stone carving. The style first appeared in the second half of the 15th century during the reign of the monarch Manuel I, in whose honor the style was named. The architects drew inspiration from the achievements of sailors. The basis of the style is Gothic, complemented by a large number of decor and decorations. Skilled craftsmen carved amazing patterns on the marine theme from stone. The first buildings decorated in the style of Manuelino:
Temple of Jesus in Setubal;
Belem Tower in Lisbon;
Monastery of Jeronimites;
chapels of the temple of Batalha.
Interesting to know! In the 16th century, the style of Manuelino lost its relevance, since in the middle of the century the country became part of Europe, where the Renaissance style was revered.
Traditions and Contrasts
Portugal is a state of amazing contrasts. Wanting to keep up with modern Europe, some regions of the country look European in style. There are also regions where traditions are honored. In Portugal, settlements have survived, where the land is plowed by oxen and continues to wear black clothes.
Photo of a portuguese girl
The centuries-old history of the state left an indelible mark on the appearance of regions, cities and people. The Phoenicians were the first to settle on the territory of the country, then the Romans came to power, leaving as their heritage new cities and high-quality roads. Jews worked as medical specialists and artisans. The Moors were skillful builders of fortresses, cultivated amazing gardens and built settlements where narrow streets were fantastically intertwined.
Interesting to know! In the north of the country people live with white skin and blue eyes – the descendants of the Celts and Germanic tribes. The inhabitants of the southern regions are characterized by olive skin and black eyes.
In difficult times, many residents emigrated from Portugal, but today, during the period of economic prosperity, the country is gaining strength again – new residential buildings are appearing (mainly in the northern regions). The state attracts many immigrants. This is the best proof that Portugal has become a truly democratic, European, stable country.
The first ancestors of the Portuguese settled on the territory of the modern state in the 4th century BC. Later, the Romans conquered the land. The name Portugal comes from the name of the Roman settlement of Portus Calais.