Showing posts with label Castelo de Vide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Castelo de Vide. Show all posts


Conímbriga is one of the largest Roman settlements excavated in Portugal, and was classified as a National Monument in 1910. Located in the civil parish of Condeixa-a-Velha e Condeixa-a-Nova, in the municipality of Condeixa-a-Nova, it is situated just over two miles from the municipal seat and ten miles from Coimbra (the Roman town of Aeminium).  Conímbriga is a walled urban settlement, encircled by a curtain of stone structures approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) long. Entrance to the settlement is made from vaulted structures consisting of two doors (one on hinges), and at one time was defended by two towers. The walls are paralleled by two passages, channelled to excavations, in order to remove water infiltration from the walls. The urban settlement consists of various structures such as a forum, basilica and commercial shops, thermal spas, aqueducts, insulae, homes of various heights (including interior patios) and domus (such as the Casa dos Repuxos and Casa de Cantaber), in addition to paleo-Christian basilica.  A visitors' centre (which includes restaurant/café and gift-shop) was constructed to display objects found by archaeologists during their excavations, including coins, surgical tools, utensils and ceramics.
  Like many archaeological sites, Conímbriga was evolved sequentially and built up by successive layers, with the primary period of occupation beginning in the 9th century; during this period the area was occupied by a Castro culture. Before the Roman occupation, the Conii peoples (who would later settle in southern Portugal) occupied the settlement. The Conímbriga designation came from conim, used by pre-European indigenous to designate the place of rocky eminence, and briga, the Celtic suffix meaning "citadel". This site had become a junction between the road that linked Olisipo to Bracara Augusta, by way of Aeminium (Coimbra).  Around 139 BCE, Romans began arriving in the area, as a consequence of the expeditionary campaigns of Decimus Junius Brutus. At the time, Conímbriga was already a built-up settlement. The Romans introduced the formal organisation of space to the settlement. Owing to the peaceful nature of rural Lusitania, Romanisation of the indigenous population was quick and Conímbriga, inevitably, became a prosperous town.  Between 69 and 79 CE, during the reign of Vespasian, Conímbriga was elevated to the status of municipium. At that time, new urban programs were initiated. Judging by the capacity of the amphitheatre, by this time, the city had an estimated population of approximately 10,600. Many of the new colonists came from the Italian peninsula (like the Lucanus, Murrius, Vitellius and Aponia families) and intermarried with local inhabitants (such as the Turrania, Valeria, Alios and Maelo families).  In addition there was a remodelling of the baths and construction of a majority of the larger homes of the town, leading to the construction of the paleo-Christian basilica in the 4th century.  Between 465 and 468, invasions by Sueves caused the destruction of the city, and its inhabitants dispersed, some into slavery.


In front of the settlement's subterranean shops located south of the road. They were first discovered in the 1940s, when the main road was excavated. The shops in the south side of the road were used for commerce and handicraft. The shops were built in the 1st century and demolished by the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century, due to the construction of the Late-Imperial wall. A long subterranean corridor gave access to the basement stores. Additional excavation in the 1960s was able to establish that the basement rooms were progressively abandoned and blocked up.


 The excavation site and visitors' centre is located on the outskirts of the rural community of Condeixa-a-Nova, based on a triangular-shaped plateau spur over two deep depressions (one occupied by the Ribeira dos Mouros). Although Conimbriga was not the largest Roman city in Portugal, it is the best preserved, with archaeologists estimating that only 10 percent of the city has been excavated. The urbanised civitas includes integrated structures starting from the Iron Age and extending to the 5th century. There were specifically three phases of spatial organisation: from the 1st century BCE, under the reign of Augustus, the late Republican forum (which included a crypto-portico, basilica, curia and commercial shops), thermal baths, an aqueduct and pre-Roman residential buildings; the 1st-century AD group, established under Flavius, which included a reconstructed Imperial forum, Vitruvian baths and a revised urban plan; and a 3rd-century settlement that fell within revised walls. The civil and residential buildings included numerous examples of remodeled and reused structures dating from the first century BCE. Most of these homes were insulae (houses with more than one floor), with open patios or courtyards, and domus (such as the Casa dos Repuxos and Casa de Cantaber ) with peristyles. Most of the private and public buildings featured abundant decorative materials, including mosaics, sculptures and painted murals. There are three distinct baths within the walls: the Great Southern Baths, the Baths of the Wall, and the Baths of the Aqueduct. The network of stone heating ducts under the (now-missing) floors is the most distinct feature of the Roman baths. The amphitheater, dating from the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty , takes advantage of a natural depression that surrounded the city to the north. It was identified in 1993 by Virgílio H. Correia, and excavations began in 2012–2013. Part of the amphitheater, consisting of three entryways, was located below local homes in Condeixa-a-Nova.The 5000-person-capacity theatre was 295 ft × 197 ft × 66 feet, and rough;y three feet underground. Some rural homes on the site were built using part of the structure.The robust, rustic construction of the 4,900 feet city walls suggests that they were built in a hurry. They consist of large, carved, irregular blocks, with most coming from other buildings. The height of the walls ranges from sixteen feet to 21 feet. Dating from the Suebic occupation, there is a paleo-Christian basilica (5th–6th century), which was reused and transformed domus. The Luso-French mission (1965–1968) unearthed public structures of great dimensions, whose architecture they reconstructed. Because the city was built in successive phases, early structures that were later modified or replaced cannot be reconstructed with certainty. These Flavian monuments coincide with the location of some important elements, such as the central square.

The so-called House of the Swastika which belonged to a relatively wealthy family, having an interlaced swastika mosaic design on the floor of the residence. The swastika design represented the Sun and was considered by the Romans to bring good luck. The construction of the building that stood here dates to the 1st century AD, but some of the final details are from the 2nd century. The mosaic floor is from the 3rd century. However, the house was demolished soon after in order to construct the Late-Imperial wall. The house was excavated in the 20th century and the mosaics were restored in the 1950s.
A view of the forum section at Conímbriga. The forum of course was the main public area which buried an indigenous residential section that was previously on this site. The remains of this quarter constitute the best preserved remains of pre-Roman urbanism in Conimbriga. The site contains the remains of two houses made of adobe with calcareous blocks that had a central yard and two almost parallel streets.
Drake exploring an arch support for the aqueduct; in the background is this arched section of the aqueduct.
At the end of the 3rd century, the Augustan walls were substituted by the existing structures.
The interior of the Casa dos Repuxos. Construction of the Casa dos Repuxos began in the 2nd century, likely over a pre-existing structure.
In front of a mosaic featuring the Minotaur's labyrinth
Mosaic showing an hunter
Mosaic showing horsemen chasing deer


The Romans conquered the town in 57 BCE and expanded it into a walled town. Vestiges from this period (city walls and ruins of Roman baths) still remain below ground. Julius Cæsar called it Liberalitas Julia (Julian generosity). The city grew in importance because it lay at the junction of several important routes. During his travels through Gaul and Lusitania, Pliny the Elder also visited this town and mentioned it in his book Naturalis Historia as Ebora Cerealis, because of its many surrounding wheat fields. In those days, Évora became a flourishing city. Its high rank among municipalities in Roman Hispania is clearly shown by many inscriptions and coins. The monumental Corinthian temple in the centre of the town dates from the first century and was probably erected in honour of emperor Augustus. In the fourth century, the town had already a bishop, named Quintianus.
The so-called Temple of Diana is believed to have been constructed around the first century CE in homage to Augustus who was venerated as a god during and after his rule. The temple was built in the forum of Évora, then called Liberatias Iulia. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, from the traditionally accepted chronology, the temple was part of a radical redefinition of the urban city, when the religious veneration and administrative polity was oriented around the central space: the structure was modified around this time.  The temple was destroyed during the 5th century by invading Germanic peoples.

Beside the neo-classical water box on Rua Nova and from our hotel room. Its twelve Tuscan columns still remain.

Walking alongside one of the Iberian Peninsula's greatest 16th century building projects, the Aqueduto da Água de Prata (the Evora aqueduct) which provided clean drinking water to Evora by connecting the city to the nearest constant flowing river, about six miles to the north.
 The memorial to the Great War stands forlornly in a decrepit parking lot

 This wonderfully non-PC monument was presented in 1997 by the South African Province of Natal to city of Evora on the 500th anniversary of the "discovery" of Natal by Vasco da Gama in 1497. Evora received this monument because the great discoverer lived and studied here for short period. The text on the pedestal is written in Portuguese, English and Afrikaans:
This monument was presented to Portugal by the people of Natal, South Africa, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama who discovered Natal on Christmas Day, 1497.

The Medieval Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) within the Gothic church of São Francisco consisting of a vaulted ceiling supported by eight columns which is about the only part of the chapel that is not covered in the human skulls and bones. It is estimated that there are over 5,000 skulls decorating the chapel many of which were dug up from the many monastic cemeteries in the area.

The site where Portuguese President Sidonio Pais read a telegram from King George V celebrating Portuguese participation in the Allied victory in the Great War from the Palace of Belém in Lisbon (just before he was assassinated), in 1918 and today.

Jerónimos Monastery
1892 and today. Manuel I, the Fortunate, had this monastery built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's voyage to India and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success. The monastery was founded in 1502, partially financed by the spice trade that grew following the discovery of the route to India. Manueline, the style of architecture that bears the king's name, combines flamboyant Gothic and Moorish influences with elements of the nascent Renaissance. Henry the Navigator originally built a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary on this spot. Today this former chapel is the Gothic and Renaissance Igreja de Santa Maria, marked by a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator. The church is known for its deeply carved stonework depicting such scenes as the life of St. Jerome. The church's interior is rich in beautiful stonework, particularly evocative in its network vaulting over the nave and aisles.

The west door of the church leads to the Cloisters, the apex of Manueline art. The stone sculpture here is fantastically intricate. The two-story cloisters have groined vaulting on their ground level. The recessed upper floor is not as exuberant but is more delicate and lacelike in character. The 1755 earthquake damaged but didn't destroy the monastery. It has undergone extensive restoration, some of it ill-conceived.  The church encloses a trio of naves noted for their fragile-looking pillars. Some of the ceilings, like those in the monks' refectory, have a ribbed barrel vault. The "palm tree" in the sacristy is also exceptional.  Many of the greatest figures in Portuguese history are said to be entombed at the monastery; the most famous is Vasco da Gama. 

Across from the Jeronimos Monastery is the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.  It represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, with sculptures of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, following Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow holding a small vessel. The only female is queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Henry the navigator, the brain of the discoveries.  

Turn of the century photograph of the Rua Augusta Arch, a stone, triumphal arch-like, historical building and visitor attraction on Lisbon's Commerce Square, built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. It has six columns (some 11 metres high) and is adorned with statues of various historical figures. Significant height from the arch crown to the cornice imparts an appearance of heaviness to the structure. The associated space is filled with the coat of arms of Portugal. The allegorical group at the top, made by French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels, represents Glory rewarding Valour and Genius.

The unveiling of the Column of King Peter IV, in Lisbon, in 1870.  D. Pedro IV was also the first Emperor of Brazil, as Peter I. His bronze statue stands atop of a tall Corinthian order column, depicting him in a general's uniform and royal cloak, his head crowned in laurels, and holding the Constitutional Charter of 1826 in his right hand. At the base of the column, there are the four female allegorical figures of Justice, Wisdom, Strength, and Moderation, qualities attributed to the King.  There is an urban legend that the statue atop the Column of King Pedro IV had actually been originally designed for the Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. As the Mexican emperor was shot in 1867, shortly before the completion of the statue, it is said that the statue was then bought for the beautification of Rossio Square. Several historians, such as José Augusto, have proved this urban legend to be incorrect, pointing out the details of the statue that clearly symbolize the Portuguese King, such as the Portuguese Coat of Arms on the buttons, the collar of the Order of the Tower and Sword, and the Constitutional Charter of 1826, penned by Peter himself.

Castelo de Vide
Castelo de Vide is of Roman origin, and the ruins of the Roman settlement of Miróbriga are nearby where many Roman artefacts have been found. 
In front of the  the oldest synagogue in the country, although all that remains is a rather nondescript room. There is an atmospheric medieval Judiaria with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses (most with Gothic doorways and potted plants on the doorsteps).  In a pretty little square below the Jewish Quarter is a covered Renaissance fountain with a pyramid roof supported by six marble columns, and a central urn carved with figures of boys. The nearby spa allegedly cures a variety of disorders from diabetes to blood pressure problems.


Marvão is perched on a granite crag of the Serra de São Mamede. Its name is derived from an 8th-century Muladi duke, named Ibn Marwan. He used the Castle of Marvão as a power base when establishing an independent statelet covering much of modern-day Portugal - during the Emirate of Cordoba (884-931 CE). The castle and walled village were further fortified through the centuries, notably under Sancho II of Portugal (13th century) and Denis of Portugal. 

As with other 11th-13th-century castles, the early medieval improvements and development of Marvão castle reflect the innovations brought back by crusading orders from the near east (notably the highly influential Hospitaller castle in Syria, the Krak des Chevaliers). The medieval castle seen in Marvão today mostly post-dates the year 1299, and features numerous characteristic features of a crusader-era castle: a tall central keep with raised entrance on the first floor; a series of lower, outlying turrets (some semi-circular); high-placed arrow-slits; open spaces to aid the sheltering and assembly of villagers and troops; a well, and huge rain-collecting cistern to supply water to both keep and the wider castle in the event of siege; bent entrances (both on the village and castle gates) to slow down invaders in the event of breached gates; a series of narrow killing zones (notably, in the triple gate on the village-side of the castle); extensive crenellated battlements and curtain walls that enhanced the natural defences provided by the escarpments of Marvão's rock.

Overlooking the village which itself has generated significant tourist interest in recent years. It was included in the #1 New York Times bestselling book, '1000 Places to see Before you Die'. Nobel prize-winning author José Saramago wrote of the village ‘‘From Marvão one can see the entire land... It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world.’’ In the 1950s, author Huldine V. Beamish wrote of Marvão 'There is an atmosphere about the district that is very ancient. At times you have the same peculiar feelings as those evoked by Stonehenge and that amazing druid monument at Callernish in the Isle of Lewis. Picking your way along the steep stony pathways, you would not be at all surprised to meet a Phoenician trader or Roman Soldier. It would be the most natural thing in the world.'

Monument to Henry the Navigator, born in Porto where his birthplace was across the street from this park. Its construction started in 1864 but it was only inaugurated in 1900. Dressed as a warrior, his right arm points beyond the sea. Next to him is earth’s globe. At the bottom of the statue are two different sets of figures. One has Victory riding two warhorses and two tritons; the other is a female figure that symbolises the faith in the discoveries. 

Torre dos Clérigos - Porto

Cathedral of Porto

Drake pointing at the Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)

  The Ribeira Square (Praça da Ribeira) is a historical square in Porto, Portugal. It is included in the historical centre of the city, designated World Heritage by UNESCO.  The square is located in the historical district of Ribeira (riverside in Portuguese), part of the São Nicolau parish. The Ribeira district spreads alongside the Douro river and used to be a centre of intense commercial and manufacturing activity since the Middle Ages. In 1491 the buildings around the square were destroyed in a fire, and the houses were rebuilt with arcades in their groundfloors. During this rebuilding campaign the square also gained a pavement made of stone slabs.

On the river Douro, based on the Latin name Durius. In modern Welsh, dŵr is "water," which is cognate with dour in modern Breton, dobhar in Irish and gives rise to Dover on the Dour and the other modest rivers the Dever and Deveron (Dubh Èireann) in the British Isles. In Roman times, the river was personified as a god, Durius.

At the Palacio D. Maria Pia in Cintra
The University of Coimbra, established in 1290 in Lisbon before going through a number of relocations until it was moved permanently to its current city in 1537. It is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest university of Portugal, and one of its largest higher education and research institutions. On 22 June 2013, UNESCO added the university to its World Heritage List.