Travel in Portugal, Day 9, Belem & The Alfama

This was our last day in Portugal and we only had time for a small taste of Lisbon.Henry the Navigator and his followers are celebrated on the Monument to the Discoveries built in 1958. On the ground in front of the Monument is a Compass Rose, gifted by the South African government in memory of Vasco da Gama, the first to round the Cape of Good Hope.

Monument of the Discoveries

Monument of the Discoveries

The Monument is close to the Tower of Belemand on the Tagus River.

Marina on the Tagus River

Marina on the Tagus River

We drove into Lisbon to park the car, and then walked past the Arco de Rua Augusta into the Alfama District. 

Arch of the Rua Augusta

The Alfama District is the oldest part of Lisbon, between the Tagus River and the Sao Jorge Castle on the top of the hill – and it is a proper hill! This was the Moorish town and it was not destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. The Castle – crowded with tourists and so avoided on this occasion – is Mediaeval and used to be the Royal Palace. A walled town

A view of the Alfama from the Miradoura Santa Luzia

A view of the Alfama from the Miradoura Santa Luzia

Lisbon Cathedral, in the Alfama District

Lisbon Cathedral, in the Alfama District

A final temptation and then it was back to London!

Patisserie in Lisbon

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Self-guided walking tour in the Alfama District
Staying in the Alfama
Visiting the Alfama

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Travel in Portugal, Day 9, Monastery of St Jeronimos

Another extraordinary building – the Monastery of St Jerónimos is a World Heritage Site in the Belém quarter of Lisbon. The buildings were begun in 1501 during the reign of King Manual I (1469-1521) who was also responsible for the Tower of Belém. The King initiated the building in thanks for Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India and was built with money gained through the spice trade. The monastery was built on the site of a previous chapel of the Order of Christ which had supported seafarers. King Manual installed monks from the Hieronymite Order (the Order of St Jerome) to occupy the new buildings.

Monastery and Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

Monastery and Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

Astonishly the buildings survived the earthquake of 1755 with only slight damage but were allowed to decay after the religious orders were dissolved in the 1830s. Restoration began in the 1860s and continued for many years thereafter, and in 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site.

"Mosteiro dos Jerónimos antes de 1755" by Unknown - "Quadros de antes do Terramoto de 1755 serão expostos ao público em Lisboa" - Público. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mosteiro_dos_Jer%C3%B3nimos_antes_de_1755.png#/media/File:Mosteiro_dos_Jer%C3%B3nimos_antes_de_1755.png

“Mosteiro dos Jerónimos antes de 1755″ by Unknown – “Quadros de antes do Terramoto de 1755 serão expostos ao público em Lisboa” – Público. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org

The Order of the Hieronymites

The Order of the Hieronymites

This ornate door, facing outwards, is not the main door, which is ‘concealed’ inside the building and facing the altar. On our visit it was also ‘concealed’ by tourists and the second photograph is from Wikipedia, as credited.

St Jeronomos Monastery, Lisbon

St Jeronomos Monastery, Lisbon

The Main Door, "Westernportal jeronimosmonastery" by Lijealso - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Westernportal_jeronimosmonastery.JPG#/media/File:Westernportal_jeronimosmonastery.JPG

“Westernportal jeronimosmonastery” by Lijealso – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Westernportal_jeronimosmonastery.JPG#/media/File:Westernportal_jeronimosmonastery.JPG

Inside the Church I had a sense of fragility – could that be possible with such a massive stone building? I apologise for the quality of these photographs as I had to rely on the Canon SX240 and edit in Lightroom.

Vasco da Gama's Tomb

Vasco da Gama’s Tomb

Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

The glory is the cloister, designed by João de Castilho on two levels. The stonework is breathtaking, with many reminders of the sea in rope designs and fantastical sea creatures.

The Cloister, Monastery and Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

The Cloister, Monastery and Church of St Jeronimos, Lisbon

The cloister, St Jeronimos, Lisbon

The cloister, St Jeronimos, Lisbon

The cloister, St Jeronimos, Lisbon

 

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St Jeronimos Monastery – interesting photographs

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Travel in Portugal, Day 9, Tower of Belem, Lisbon

The Tower of Belem, looking towards the mouth of the Tagus

The Tower of Belem, looking towards the mouth of the Tagus

The Tower of Belem, close to the shoreline

The Tower of Belem, close to the shoreline

Our final day in Portugal and I wanted a ‘taste’ of Lisbon so we did the obviously touristy things! The Tower of Belem was commissioned by King John I in the late 15C to strengthen the defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and protect protect Lisbon. It was his successor, King Manual I who completed the project, in 1519. The Tower was built on an outcrop of rock close to the shore the earthquake of 1755 affected the course of the river and the Tower is now almost on the shore. It was named The Tower of St Vincent after the Patron Saint of Lisbon and altered several times during the following years.

The Tower of Belem, looking towards the opposite side of the Tagus

The Tower of Belem, looking towards the opposite side of the Tagus

French ships exchanging fire with the Tower during the Battle of the Tagus, 1831 (Wikipedia)

French ships exchanging fire with the Tower during the Battle of the Tagus, 1831 (Wikipedia)

The Virgin of Belem (aka The Virgin of the Grapes)

The Virgin of Belem (aka The Virgin of the Grapes)

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Travel in Portugal, Day 8, Around Queluz

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Travel in Portugal, Day 8, Queluz

The original building on the site of The National Palace at Queluz was the residence of the first Marquis of Castelo Rodrigo who helped the Spanish crown annex Portugal. When Portugal achieved independence in 1640 the property was confiscated and given to Prince Pedro, later King Pedro I. It was a later member of the Royal family who really developed the property – King Consort Pedro of Braganza, the husband of Queen Maria I – intending it as a summer retreat for the family. Work started in 1747 and continued over many decades. The Portuguese Royal family eventually lived permanently in the Palace until 1807 when they retreated to Brazil during the French invasion.

15-2-27 Portugal Day 8 LR-1

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Royal Palace, Queluz

The Palace is highly decorated and the state rooms are beautiful. The rooms are filled with light and everywhere one is conscious of the gardens outside.

The Ballroom, Royal Palace of Queluz

The Ballroom, Royal Palace of Queluz

Chandelier in the Ballroom, Queluz

Chandelier in the Ballroom, Queluz

Inside the Royal Palace, Queluz

The Sala das Mangas is the only room which is completely original because the Palace was devastated by fire in 1934 and of course restored.

The Sala das Mangas, Royal Palace at Queluz

The Sala das Mangas, Royal Palace at Queluz

There are many acres of grounds with fountains and a canal, and an elaborate hydraulic system for the water, as well as statues throughout. Sadly I did not have enough time to really enjoy the gardens which were still dormant – I would like to return in the warmer months.

The gardens, Royal Palace, Queluz

The gardens, Royal Palace, Queluz

The tiled canal, Royal Palace, Queluz

The tiled canal, Royal Palace, Queluz

The tiled canal, Royal Palace, Queluz

The gardens, Royal Palace, Queluz

The gardens, Royal Palace, Queluz

The palace was expanded into a large complex when Queen Maria took up permanent residence in 1794, with additional buildings which included the Clock House (currently the Pousada de Reina Maria), the Military Barracks, and other buildings to house the members of the Court.

The Clock House, now the Pousada de Reina Maria

The Clock House, now the Pousada de Reina Maria

Portugal 2015 LR-63

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The Royal Palace of Queluz 

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Travel in Portugal, Day 7, Torres Novas to Queluz

We left Tomar on a high, fortified by the daily coffee and pasteis de nata, and went looking for a Roman Villa at Torres Novas, the Villa CardilloThe site was first excavated in 1962 and in my view it has been neglected – you can walk anywhere and mosaics are lying unprotected in the open. It is conjectured that the Villa was owned by a couple.

The Villa Cardillo

The Villa Cardillo

Central heating for the Villa

Central heating for the Villa

The mosaic which talks of the owners, Cardillo and Avita

The mosaic which talks of the owners, Cardillo and Avita

Cardillo and Avita?

Cardillo and Avita?

We used the motorways to take us down to the Pousada de Queluz which was originally part of the Royal Palace, and the traffic and hustle and bustle was quite a shock after the quiet and emptiness of the Alentejo. (The viaduct below is in the hills behind Lisbon.)

The hills behind Lisbon

The Pousada, Queluz

The Pousada, Queluz

 

 

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The Cloisters of The Convent of Christ, Tomar

There are eight cloisters in the Convent, on three different levels, and you could happily spend many hours exploring the details and experiencing the atmosphere. Continue reading

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Travel in Portugal, Day 7, The Convent of Christ, Tomar

I was sad to leave Flor da Rosa.

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Flor da Rosa

Main street, Flor da Rosa

Main street, Flor da Rosa

The parish church, Flor da Rosa, and the 15C Fonte Branca

The parish church, Flor da Rosa, and the 15C Fonte Branca

Flor da Rosa

Flor da Rosa

flor da Rosa

Flor da Rosa

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A Portuguese Travel Company with an interesting website

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The Monastery of Santa Maria de Flor da Rosa

The headquarters of The Order of Malta was established in Crato in the 14C and in the 15C D. Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira (1360-1431), the Prior, established a monastery/castle in nearby Flor da Rosa. The buildings have now been restored and extended to create a Pousada – it was a privilege to stay in this magical place. Continue reading

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