It may not be its official name, but Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Monastery of the Hieronymites) is one of the greatest monuments ever built during the former Portuguese Empire. Powered by the spice trade and the ambition of a King looking for an architectural legacy to leave behind, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is a tribute to the influx of wealth that Portugal experienced during the 15th and 16th centuries. Don’t forget to pay it a visit during your next Lisbon vacations.
This large building (its facade is over 300 meters long) started to come to life in 1502. Still standing today, it survived the ...continue reading
There are no certainties as to the origin of the name Évora. The prevailing theory says that it probably came from the Celt word eburos, meaning yew tree. Judging by the name one could say it was a close cousin to the city of York in England, known in former times as Ebora Kon, or the place of the Yew trees. In the 1st century A.D., Évora was known as Ebora Cerealis, in a reference to the cereal crops that grew around it.
But even if we can’t be sure about its origins, we know ...continue reading
One of the least obvious places to visit in Portugal, but which most certainly warrants a visit during a trip to Portugal, is the city of Chaves, in the northeast part of the country. Its glorious past, natural beauty and water resources, along with its rich gastronomy, make Chaves not just one of the places to see in Portugal, but also a great alternative to other more crowded mainstream destinations.
Although there is archeological evidence to support the claim that Chaves has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, its Golden Age seems to have been during ...continue reading
It is not often that an ecosystem is defined by a rock, but this might just be one of those rare examples. Aldeias de Xisto, or Schist Villages, are 27 small villages located in the mountains of Lousã and Açor, in the center of Portugal. They virtually managed to avoid extinction due to migration and nowadays offer a whole range of activities to both national and international visitors. An exciting fresh and new prospect for your vacations in Portugal.
This set of villages gets its name from ...continue reading
Gil Paes was the governor (“alcaide-mor”) of Torres Novas in the 14th century and is one of the most iconic historical figures in Portugal. He’s an example of extreme loyalty to his kingdom.
In 1372 the King of Castile invaded the Kingdom of Portugal. His army conquered many villages as it advanced into Portuguese territory. This invasion apparently happened with little opposition from the Portuguese army and many villages were surrendering very easily to avoid many casualties. When the Castilian army got to Torres Novas in 1373, it got a different experience.
Highly loyal to King Ferdinand, Gil Paes resisted the invasion and did not give away control of the castle. The Castilian King surrounded the castle and amidst some of the battles ended up capturing Gil Paes’ 18 years old son. He then warned Gil Paes that he’d kill his son if he didn’t surrender the castle and neighboring region. What followed was an example of ...continue reading