Marvelous Portugal: From Lisbon to Quinta da Regaleira

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“By day Lisbon has a naive theatrical quality that enchants and captivates, but by night it is a fairy-tale city, descending over lighted terraces to the sea, like a woman in festive garments going down to meet her dark lover.” – Erich Maria Remarque about the capital of Portugal

GEOGRAPHY OF PORTUGAL

Portugal is a country with many natural and cultural beauties. It is truly an experience for anyone who wants to discover it. This amazing country borders the North Atlantic Ocean and also Spain on the other side.

Map of Portugal
Map of Portugal

Furthermore, Portugal comprises 92,090 sq km in total. It has a maritime climate due to the North Atlantic Ocean, with cool and rainy in the north, and then warmer and drier in the south.

The country has a wide range of natural resources like fish; forests (cork); iron ore; copper; zinc; tin; tungsten; silver; gold; uranium; marble; clay; gypsum; salt; arable land; and also hydropower.

POPULATION

Moreover, most of the population concentrates along or near the Atlantic Coast making Lisbon and also Porto coastal cities. The estimations for 2022 state that Portugal has 10,242,081 citizens, out of which 95% are Portuguese and the rest came from Africa, Asia (Han Chinese), South America (Brazilian), and also others.

Furthermore, Portugal has two primary languages, Portuguese which is the official language, and also Mirandese.

Regarding religions, Portuguese citizens practice several, but most of the population (81%) are Roman Catholic; the rest of the population are Christians (3.3%), Muslim, and also Jewish (0.6%); none (6.8%), and unspecified (8.3%).

Nearly half of the population (41.49%) is in the range of 25 to 54 years. Portugal has a slightly negative birth rate of -0.2%, which means that they only have 8 births per 1000 people

Moreover, Portugal spends 4.7% of its GDP on education. The country has a literacy rate of 96.1%, slightly higher for men. The unemployment rate was 22.6%.

GOVERNMENT 

Portugal has a semi-presidential republic. Its capital is Lisbon, which is the second oldest capital city after Athens. In 1143, the Kingdom of Portugal was formally established. In 1580, Spain conquered Portugal and ruled it for sixty years.

Antonio Luis Santos da Costa
Antonio Luis Santos da Costa

It was in 1640 when Portugal obtained its independence from Spain. On 5 October 1910, the country declared itself as a republic. The day of Portugal is on 10 June, which is also known as Camoes Day.

Portugal approved its current constitution in 1976 but has amended it several times. It has a civil law system. Since 2016, the Chief of State is President Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa. The Head of Government is Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa since 2015.

The country elects its president through an absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term). Portugal has a unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica with 230 seats.

The flag has two vertical bands of green (hoist side, two-fifths) and red (three-fifths) with the national coat of arms (armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) centered on the dividing line. The national symbol of Portugal is an armillary sphere, and the national colors are red and green.

ANTHEM AND HERITAGE 

The name of the national anthem is A Portuguesa. Regarding World Heritage Sites, Portugal has 17 registered, 16 are cultural, and 1 natural.

Those are Historic Évora (c); Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores (c); Cultural Landscape of Sintra (c); Laurisilva of Madeira (n); Historic Guimarães (c); Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon (c).

Further sites include the Convent of Christ in Tomar (c); Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (c); University of Coimbra – Alta, and Sofia (c); Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga (c).

ECONOMY 

Since Portugal joined the predecessor of the European Union, its economy diversified. The country joined the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999 and adopted the euro on 1 January 2002.

The budget deficit fell from 11.2% of GDP in 2010 to 1.8% in 2017, this was the lowest since the restoration of democracy in 1974. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Portuguese GDP experienced a setback; also seen in the decrease from $358.78 billion in 2019 to $331.64 billion in 2020.

Portugal economy is very diverse
Portugal’s economy is very diverse

On the positive side, the inflation rate experienced a decrease from 1.3% in 2017 to 0.3% in 2019. According to estimations, this might change due to the different situations like the Russia-Ukraine War or the post-covid-19 sequels.

75.7% of the Portuguese economy is focused on the services sector, some based in Lisbon. The agricultural products include milk, tomatoes, olives, grapes, maize, potatoes, pork, apples, oranges, and also poultry.

Regarding the industries, some of the industries that Portugal has are textiles; clothing; footwear, wood, and cork; paper and pulp; chemicals, fuels and lubricants, automobiles, and also auto parts.

Other industries include base metals; minerals, porcelain, and ceramics; glassware, technology, and telecommunications; dairy products, wine, and other foodstuffs; ship construction and refurbishment; tourism, plastics, financial services, and also optics.

PORTUGUESE CULTURE 

Furthermore, Portuguese culture dates back to prehistoric times into the eras of Roman and also Moorish invasions. They left prehistoric cave paintings at Escoural, the Roman township of Conimbriga, the Roman temple (known as the Temple of Diana) in Évora, and the typical Moorish architecture of such southern towns as Olhão and also Tavira.

Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa

Portuguese art has received influence from Flemish, French, and also Italian cultures. Regional dances, which include the virachulacorridinhotirana, and also fandango, often reflect the courting and matrimonial traditions of the area.

The Portuguese language became synthesized in the 12th century. The 20th-century poet Fernando Pessoa, writing under numerous pseudonyms, then introduced a Modernist European sensibility.

Portugal has several medieval castles, cathedrals, several villas, and forts from the period of Roman occupation. In the 16th century, Portugal synthesized the national style called Arte Manuelina by adapting several forms into a luxuriantly ornamented whole.

Some examples of this type of art are Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon; the Sé (cathedral) of Lisbon, in the facade of which the remains of Roman construction may still be seen; and the Palace of Justice in Lisbon.

OVERVIEW OF PORTUGUESE HISTORY 

The earliest human remains found in Portugal are Neanderthal-type bones from Furninhas. By 500 BCEIron Age cultures predominated in the north.

After the Second Punic War (218–201 BCE); Rome dominated, then a Celtic federation, the Lusitani, resisted Roman penetration under the leadership of Viriathus. Viriathus died shortly by 140 BCE.

In 25 BCE Caesar Augustus founded Augusta Emerita (Merida) as the capital of Lusitania; which incorporated present-day central Portugal. Notable Roman remains include the Temple of Diana at Évora and the site of Conimbriga (Condeixa). Christianity reached Lusitania in the 3rd century and Galicia in the 4th.

Portuguese maritime industry was one of the countrys' strengths
Portuguese maritime industry was one of the country’s strengths

The Suebi, a Germanic Tribe annexed Lusitania but the Visigoths subdued them and extinguished their monarchy in 469. Muslim forces invaded in 711, and also Berber troops were in central Portugal and Galicia.

COUNTY AND KINGDOM OF PORTUGAL TO 1383

Later, Lisbon was independent for a few years in the early 9th century. By the 10th century; the county of Portugal (north of the Douro) was held by Mumadona Dias and her husband Hermenegildo Gonçalves.

Palacio Nacional da Pena, Sintra
Palacio Nacional da Pena, Sintra

The Navarrese-Castilian house of Sancho III Garcés (Sancho the Great) overthrew the dynasty; the western county lost its autonomy. Sancho’s son Ferdinand I of Castile reconquered Coimbra in 1064 but entrusted it to a Mozarabic governor.

King Sancho, I (reigned 1185–1211) enfranchised many municipalities (concelhos), especially in eastern and central Portugal. On his arrival, the count of Boulogne had already declared himself king as Alfonso III.

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintr
Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

The King brought together the divided kingdom, completed the reconquest of the Algarve, transferred the capital from Coimbra to Lisbon, and, fortified with the support of the towns. Under the reign of the son of Alfonso, Dinis (1279–1325); Portugal then came into closer touch with western Europe.

In 1385; John I of Castile and a considerable army made their appearance in central Portugal. The victory assured John I of his kingdom and made him a desirable ally. Moreover, a small force of English archers had been present at Aljubarrota in support of the Portuguese.

monumento aos descobrimentos
Monumento aos descobrimentos, Lisbon

Portugal and the UK signed the treaty of Windsor which raised the Anglo-Portuguese connection to the status of a firm, binding, and also a permanent alliance between the two crowns. Portugal also started an expansion campaign like Spain.

WHAT TO SEE IN PORTUGAL?

The tourists can visit Marine Beach; Broker Palace in Porto, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum; Ponta da Piedade, Praia da Rocha; Praia do Camilo, Vale do Lobo; Punta de San Lorenzo, Queluz Palace; Cascais, Falesia Beach; Alentejano y Costa Vicentina South East Park, and also Peneda-Gerês National Park.

Furthermore, Saint Vincent Cape, Monte Palace Madeira; Ria Formosa, Arieiro Peak; Hell’s Mouth, Lagoa do Fogo, Girao Cape; Meia Praia, Guimarães Castle; Praia da Arrifana, Óbidos Castle, Sintra-Cascaes Natural Park; Pico Ruivo, Tavira Island, among others.

ATTRACTIVENESS OF LISBON: 

It’s not enough to have four days in Lisbon, the city has several important sites to visit. Some examples are the Belem Tower, Saint George Castle; the Monastero dos Jeronimos, Time Out Market, Saint Justa Elevator, Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia; Lisbon Cathedral, and LxFactory.

Other sites are the oceanarium of Lisbon, the Monument to the discovery, Convento do Carmo; the National Museum of tiles, Praça Dom Pedro IV, the Bridge of 25 April, and Arco de la Rua Augusta.

Monastero dos Jeronimos
Monastero dos Jeronimos

Finally, the tourists can visit the National Coach Museum, Viewpoint of Santa Lucia, the National Sanctuary of Christ the King; Panteão Nacional, Tram 28; the National Museum of Ancient Art, Avenida da Liberdade, the Elevator da Bica; Ajuda National Palace, the Viewpoint of Portas do Sol, Pink street;  Vasco da Gama, Fado Museum, and the San Vicente de Fora Church.

Further sites include Museu de Marinha, Jardim da Estrela, Belem Cultural Center; Marquee Palace, Basílica da Estrela; Rua Augusta, Café A Brasileira; Glória Funicular, Praça Marquês de Pombal; Museu do Oriente, Lisboa Story Centre, Praça dos Restauradores, and also Praça do Comercio.

ATTRACTIVENESS OF SINTRA: 

In Sintra, tourists can visit the Palacio Nacional da Pena; Quinta da Regaleira, Castelo dos Mouros, Cabo da Roca; Sintra’s National Palace, Monserrate Palace, Queluz Palace; Sintra-Cascaes Natural Park, Praia da Adraga, and Ursa Beach.

Sintra also has the Convent of the Capuchos, Chalet of the Countess of Edla; Sanctuary of Peninha, Museu do Ar, Sintra-Monte da Lua (PSML) Parks, Museu Anjos Teixeira; Park Liberdade, Pedra Amarela, Quinta do Pisão, Anta de Adrenunes; Cascada de Fervença, and also Barragem do Rio da Mula.

Ponte 25 abril, Lisbon
Ponte 25 Abril, Lisbon

Tourists can also visit Praia Pequena do Rodízio, the Warrior statute; Jardins do Parque da Pena, Pisoes Waterfall, Parque das Merendas; Gruta do Labirinto, Agualva Dolmen, the Temple of Columns; Shamballah Yoga Retreats, the Raso Cape, Fonte dos Pisões, and also the Necrópole de Carenque

ATTRACTIVENESS OF SESIMBRA: 

In Sesimbra, the tourists can visit Praia do Figueirinha, the Praia Ribeiro Do Cavalo; the Arrabida Natural Park, the Igreja Santa Maria do Castelo; among others.

Praia Ribeiro do Cavalo, Sesimbra
Praia Ribeiro do Cavalo, Sesimbra
REQUIREMENTS FOR PORTUGUESE CITIZENS TO ENTER MEXICO:

Portuguese citizens do not need to request a visa to enter Mexico as tourists if they plan to stay for less than 4 months. They also need to have an active passport and have to fill out a form called FMT.

Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno, Cascais
REQUIREMENTS FOR MEXICAN CITIZENS TO ENTER PORTUGAL:

Due to the covid-19 health situation, Portugal doesn’t allow Mexican citizens to travel without an extraordinary reason.

Besides that, to be able to enter Portugal, the tourist needs to have an active passport; plane tickets for arrival and departure with less than 3 months of difference, proof that a tourist has a place to stay; a bank certificate to show economic solvency, and also medical insurance with repatriation included.

Torre de Belem, Lisbon
Torre de Belem, Lisbon

Mexicans do not need a visa if it is just a trip of fewer than 3 months, and the objective is to have fun. It will be necessary to request a visa if the objective of the trip is to study, work, live permanently in the territory, or also to travel for more than 3 months.

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