Art and Culture.
Byline: Ms. Sundas Anwar
The land that is now Portugal has been inhabited for thousands of years and its national boundaries have been defined for eight centuries. This long history is reflected in a particular culture that is the result of the mixture of the many peoples who settled here and those that the Portuguese encountered on their journeys of discovery.
It is found in the villages and towns, in the monuments and traditions, which bring together influences that the Portuguese have applied creatively. And the omnipresent sea has also shaped our personality and taken us beyond the continent of Europe, enabling us to learn and share with the rest of the world.
Manueline art, tiles and Fado are unique expressions and genuine symbols of the Portuguese, but also a contribution to World heritage. There are 18 such classifications by UNESCO in Portugal, including monuments, landscapes and intangible heritage.
By choosing a region, an itinerary or a specific theme, you can discover a unique heritage and different landscapes, all within a short distance, which still retain the authenticity of local customs. Moreover your tour will be complemented to perfection by the traditional cuisine and the customary hospitality in rural accommodation.
Portugal has a rich culture dating back to prehistoric times, seen in the colorful Celtic-influenced folklore of the north, in the Moorish-influenced Fado music, in its romantic language, distinctive architecture (including its dazzling Azulejos and Calcadas), painting and distinguished literature, not to mention its welcoming people who have spread its culture around the world ever since the Age of discovery, and its intriguing history.
Portugal is renowned for its heritage and architecture. In addition to the World heritage cities, many others also stand out, including Viana do Castelo, Braga, Caminha, Barcelos, Ponte de Lima and Amarante, in the north, viseu in the center, as well as Santarem and Setubal, closer to Lisbon, Tavira and Silves in Algarve, and Funchal and Ponta Delgada in Madeira and the Azores, respectively.
While the Romanesque in the north clearly demonstrates that this was the birthplace of Portugal, the Border Castles and the historical villages, in central Portugal, also bear witness to almost nine centuries of history. So too do the schist villages and the many walled villages and towns, of which Obidos, Marvao and Monsaraz are just a few examples. In the Alentejo, we find marble and single-storey, whitewashed houses. Like those in the Algarve, with a roof terrace.
There are many contemporary architects who have taken Portugal's name to the highest heights, including two Pritzker prize winners: Alvaro Siza Vieira, who won the award in 1992 and the 2011 winner, Eduardo Souto de Moura.