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
For the experienced traveler, not every single holiday will be out of this world. Sometimes only a truly special place has the ability to make you feel unique. So to make the most of your trip, don’t just visit Portugal. Choose an itinerary that will turn your Portuguese vacation into an unforgettable experience.
How about a trip to a mythical place of blue and green lagoons? How about an enticing discovery holiday through nine Atlantic wonders? Then brace yourself, for there is nothing common about this area of the world.
The Azores is one of ...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
A long time ago in a castle near Lisbon a ferocious and satanic man dedicated his time to wizardry. One day he decided to marry and asked help from his rock crystal blade to find the most beautiful woman possible. When his horsemen brought in the woman he couldn’t believe how beautiful she actually was. In fact, her beauty made him so jealous and afraid someone would steal her love that he ordered her be kept away from other people. Some say though that he did this because he wasn’t able to get her to love him.
So the woman was placed in a cold and lonely castle tower. Locked away, just like people do with things they simultaneously love and hate… The rich man chose a guard who was his most loyal man, and also the only one who had never seen her beauty, so that he would stand guard without feelings of envy or temptation.
Close to the sea, time in the castle passed by, with the pace set by the tides. Weeks and months went by with the succession of days and nights. The captive woman was as lonely as the guard keeping her away from the world. Both shared the same horizon. The ocean. Always different but always the same. The music they shared was a mix of their own thoughts, the sounds of the ocean, and the wind blowing by the rocks and the castle walls.
One day, ...continue reading