|New York, NY – July 4, 2021 – After 15 months, Portugal is once again open to visitors from US and, this weekend, the country is celebrating their return along with the July 4 Independence Day holiday by lighting eight of its historic landmarks in red, white and blue:
Lisbon: the statue of D. José I, located in Praça do Comércio – Lisbon’s most beautiful square.
The equestrian statue of D. José I is a remarkable sculptural work: it was the first equestrian statue made in Portugal and the first sculptural public landmark dedicated to a living person. Praça do Comércio, known as Terreiro do Paço (Royal Yard) prior to the 1755 earthquake, was the location of Portugal’s Royal Palace since the 16th century, when King Manuel transferred the court there from the Castle of São Jorge (St. George). The entire yard was destroyed by the earthquake and completely remodeled during the Pombaline Era, a Portuguese architectural style, when its name changed to Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square).
Porto: Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) is built on the ruins of the Saint Francis Convent, and known for welcoming Monarchs, Presidents, and Ministers from almost every country. The palace was built in the 19th century by the city’s Commercial Association and is known for its Neoclassical style.
Alentejo: the iconic Castle of Marvão, about 2h40min drive from Lisbon and close to the border with Spain, is known for its well-preserved medieval style and high walls, that form a fortress around the Marvão village. The castle is on one of the highest points in the Serra de São Mamede and the village has the typical whitewashed houses from Alentejo.
Azores: Portas da Cidade (City Gates), in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, are the perfect starting point for exploring the city. They are quickly identified by their three arches that link the sea front area and the Praça da República. The typical architecture emphasizes the contrast between the white walls and the basalt details.
Cascais: Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães, was built in 1900 by Jorge O’Neill. The Museum is a classic example of “summer architecture,” inviting visitors to enter the wonder of this 19thcentury revival of the era of romance. It is also home to a collection of significant national and international paintings, furniture, porcelain, and jewelry.
Lamego: Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary was built between the 18th and 20th centuries and is still a Marian shrine visited by pilgrims from all over the country to honor Our Lady of Remedies. The monumental Baroque staircase (with 686 steps) that gives access to the Sanctuary is divided over several levels and the interior is decorated in Rocaille style and entirely dedicated to Marian iconography.
Montalegre, Vila Real: the medieval Castle of Montalegre stands on a colossal rock, a sign of its strategic military importance over the centuries.
Soajo, Peneda-Gerês National Park: Espigueiros do Soajo (Granaries of Soajo), located in the village of Soajo, are an impressive group of twenty-four stone espigueiros (granaries), with architectural features from the 18thand 19thcenturies, and used by the community to store corn, which is abundant in the region. The crosses at the top of the granaries represent the divine protection of its content.