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Portugal

Peneda-Geres National Park, Portugal

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, November 18, 2007 at 11:54:29 :: Portugal

The Peneda-Gerês National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês), also known simply as Gerês, is the only national park in Portugal (although many Natural Parks, Protected Landscapes and Reserves exist across the nation). It is located in the Norte region, in the northwest of Portugal.

Founded in 1971, it covers an area of 72,000 hectares and has an extraordinary diversity of climate, envirorunents and scenery, comprising the transition zone between the Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian regions.

Because of this, flora and fauna are found that are rare or non existent in other parts of the country.

The Peneda-Gerês National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês), or Gerês, Norte region, in the northwest of Portugal


Human occupation dates back 7,000 years and Megalithic, Celtic and Roman monuments are found frequently.

Memory and inheritance from these times are the vestiges of community life, almost extinct today but still present in certain isolated points where they have still survived the modern manifestations of human intervention.

The vast heritage still to be found makes Peneda-Geres an essential visiting point for anyone who wishes to discover the Parks of Portugal.

Two mountain plains - Castro Laboreiro (to the North) and Mourela (to the East) - form the boundaries of the granite semi--circle that makes up this Park. Between the two are the mountains of Peneda (1373 m), Soajo (1217 m), Amarela (1092 m) and Geres (1545 m), the highest and most extensive.

The varied climatic influences occasionally result in unexpected flora, with examples being the cork oak and the British oak. In the higher zones you can find areas that are always flooded, where the carnivorous plants, most particularly the "Orvalhinha", are a constant feature.

Although some of the species are now extinct, such as the brown bear and the mountain goat, the National Park still presents a very varied fauna, with important species like the wolf, the roe deer, the wild boar, the fox, the wild ferret and the otter.

Of special importance among the bird species are the endangered royal eagle, the kite, the woodland screech owl and the titmouse. Among the reptiles the most important are the rarely found Seoane viper and the horned viper, as well as the water snake, the water lizard and the green lizard. Amphibians of special note are the rare Lusitanian salamander, the tritons, the Iberian frog and the midwife toad.

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Do you know Batalha?

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 03, 2007 at 11:19:49 :: Portugal

Batalha is a city in Portugal.

It is actually famous for the Monastery Santa Maria da Vitória which is a UNESCO world heritage.

Fasada kościoła, po prawej Kaplica fundatora króla Jana I


The Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória was built by order of King John I, in gratitude for his glorious victory over the Castilian army in the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, which brought Portugal its independence from Spain. The construction would last for almost two centuries (1388-1533) and resulted in one of the most beautiful Gothic monuments we have ever seen.

Not only shape and size of this magnificent building, but in particular also the splendid decoration of its facades with most elaborate stonemason works in Manueline decoration Style are amazing and very impressive.

Fountain at Rossion Square, Lisbon, Portugal


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In The News

Visit Portugal

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 02, 2006 at 19:00:25

Belem TowerPhoto of the week:
LightHouse Torre de Belem, Lisbon

Europe - Portugal - Lisbon - Torre de Belem - Lighthouse


UNESCO World Heritage

Portugal, University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 29, 2014 at 05:54:20

Location Coimbra, Portugal
Coordinates N40 12 28.12 W8 25 32.79
Property 36 ha
Date of Inscription 2013

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1387 )

Situated on a hill overlooking the city, the University of Coimbra with its colleges grew and evolved over more than seven centuries within the old town. Notable university buildings include the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Cruz and a number of 16th century colleges, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, which has housed the University since 1537, the Joanine Library with its rich baroque decor, the 18th century Botanical Garden and University Press, as well as the large “University City” created during the 1940s. The University’s edifices became a reference in the development of other institutions of higher education in the Portuguese-speaking world where it also exerted a major influence on learning and literature. Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages.

Photos from Landolia

Courtyard of the University of Coimbra Overlooking Coimbra, University of Coimbra

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Portugal, Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 29, 2014 at 05:46:57

Location Azores, Portugal
Coordinates N38 30 48.4 W28 32 28.2
Property 987 ha
Date of Inscription 2004

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1117 )

The 987-ha site on the volcanic island of Pico, the second largest in the Azores archipelago, consists of a remarkable pattern of spaced-out, long linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky shore. The walls were built to protect the thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots (currais) from wind and seawater. Evidence of this viniculture, whose origins date back to the 15th century, is manifest in the extraordinary assembly of the fields, in houses and early 19th-century manor houses, in wine-cellars, churches and ports. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of the site is the best remaining area of a once much more widespread practice.

Photos from Landolia

Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

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Portugal, Historic Centre of Guimaraes

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 29, 2014 at 05:40:33

Location Province of Minho, District of Braga, Portugal
Coordinates N41 26 26.988 W8 17 41.352
Property 16 ha
Date of Inscription 2001

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1031 )

The historic town of Guimarães is associated with the emergence of the Portuguese national identity in the 12th century. An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques.

Photos from Landolia

Toural square, Guimarães Oliveira square, Guimarães

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Portugal, Alto Douro Wine Region

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 29, 2014 at 05:30:51

Location Douro Region, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
Coordinates N41 6 6 W7 47 56
Property 24,600 ha
Date of Inscription 2001

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1046 )

Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.

Photos from Landolia

Alto Douro vineyard Terraced vineyards along the Douro river

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Portugal, Laurisilva of Madeira

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 28, 2014 at 11:10:30

Location Island of Madeira, Portugal
Coordinates N32 46 0 W17 0 0
Property 15,000 ha
Date of Inscription 1999

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/934 )

La forêt laurifère de Madère est un vestige exceptionnel d'un type de forêt de lauriers autrefois largement répandu. C'est la plus grande forêt de lauriers qui subsiste. Primaire à environ 90 %, elle contient un ensemble unique de plantes et d'animaux, dont beaucoup d'espèces endémiques telles que le pigeon trocaz de Madère.

Photos from Landolia

Laurisilva of Madeira

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Portugal, Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 28, 2014 at 10:29:00

Location Portuguese autonomous region of the Azores, Portugal
Coordinates N38 39 18 W27 13 12
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/206 )

Situated on one of the islands in the Azores archipelago, this was an obligatory port of call from the 15th century until the advent of the steamship in the 19th century. The 400-year-old San Sebastião and San João Baptista fortifications are unique examples of military architecture. Damaged by an earthquake in 1980, Angra is now being restored.

Photos from Landolia

Igreja da Misericórdia, Angra do Heroismo Sé Cathedral of Angra do Heroísmo

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Portugal, Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 15, 2012 at 05:04:18

Location Elvas, Portugal
Coordinates N38 52 50.23 W7 9 47.96
Property 179 ha
Date of Inscription 2012

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1367 )

The site, extensively fortified from the 17th to 19th centuries, represents the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century ad, its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The fortifications designed by Dutch Jesuit padre Cosmander represent the best surviving example of the Dutch school of fortifications anywhere. The site also contains the Amoreira aqueduct, built to enable the stronghold to withstand lengthy sieges.

Photos from Landolia

Elvas Forte de Santa Luzia Fort of Graca

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Portugal, Convent of Christ in Tomar

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 19, 2012 at 06:25:13

Location Tomar (Santarem), Portugal
Coordinates N39 36 16.992 W8 25 3
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/265 )

Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize just the opposite during the Manueline period – the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations.

Photos from Landolia

Convent of Christ, Tomar

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Portugal, Historic Centre of Oporto

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 20, 2009 at 06:05:43

Location Northern region, Portugal
Coordinates N41 8 30 W8 37 0
Type Cultural
Date of Inscription 1996

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/755 )

The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara.

Photos from Landolia

Historic Centre of Oporto

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Portugal, Monastery of Alcobaça

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 18, 2009 at 17:11:16

Location Alcobaça, district of Leiria, Portugal
Coordinates N39 32 60 W8 58 36.012
Type Cultural
Date of Inscription 1989

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/505 )

The Monastery of Santa Maria d'Alcobaça, north of Lisbon, was founded in the 12th century by King Alfonso I. Its size, the purity of its architectural style, the beauty of the materials and the care with which it was built make this a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.

Photos from Landolia

Cloister and church of the Alcobaça Monastery Monastery of Alcobaca

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Portugal, Historic Centre of Evora

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 18, 2009 at 16:43:55

Location Évora, district of Évora, Alentejo region, Portugal
Coordinates N38 34 23.016 W7 54 28.008
Type Cultural
Date of Inscription 1986

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/361 )

This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its unique quality stems from the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.

Photos from Landolia

St Anton Church, Évora Roman Temple, Évora

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Portugal, Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 18, 2009 at 15:46:39

Location City of Lisbon, Portugal
Coordinates N38 41 30.984 W9 12 56.988
Type Cultural
Property 2.66 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/263 )

Standing at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, the Monastery of the Hieronymites – construction of which began in 1502 – exemplifies Portuguese art at its best. The nearby Tower of Belém, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's expedition, is a reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world.

Photos from Landolia

Hieronymites Monastery Belem Tower Belem Tower

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Portugal, Monastery of Batalha

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 18, 2009 at 15:17:43

Location Batalha, District of Leiria, Portugal
Coordinates N39 39 28.008 W8 49 36.984
Type Cultural
Property 0.98 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/264 )

The Monastery of the Dominicans of Batalha was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It was to be the Portuguese monarchy's main building project for the next two centuries. Here a highly original, national Gothic style evolved, profoundly influenced by Manueline art, as demonstrated by its masterpiece, the Royal Cloister.

Photos from Landolia

Batalha Monastery Batalha Monastery

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Portugal, Cultural Landscape of Sintra

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 18, 2009 at 11:13:32

Location Sintra/Serra, Portugal
Coordinates N38 46 59.988 W9 25 0.012
Type Cultural
Property 946 ha
Date of Inscription 1995

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/723 )

In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra, created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.

Photos from Landolia

Castle of the Moors Monserrate Palace Da Pena palace

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