Showing posts from February, 2017

Braga's Cathedral, Braga, Portugal

Braga's Cathedral was built on top of a Roman market or Roman temple dedicated to Isis. Braga's role as the centre of Christianisation of Gaellecia (northwestern Iberia) dates back to the 3rd century AD, making it the oldest diocese in Portugal. With the barbaric invasions, Braga becomes the capital of the Suebi kingdom, which was converted to Christianity by Bishop Martin of Dumio in the 6th century AD. The importance of Braga diminished in the following centuries and, with the Moorish occupation, it lost its bishop seat. The bishopric of Braga was restored in 1070 and a Cathedral started being built in the same year. It was consecrated in 1089 but construction lasted until the 13th century. It is the oldest cathedral in Portugal and the burial place of the parents of the first king of Portugal. Opening hours: Mon. to Sun. 8.30 to 18.30; Treasury: Tue. to Sun. 9 to 12.30 and 14.30 to 17.30 (18.30 in Summer) Entrance fee: (Cathedral+ Treasury) €4 Back to Braga

Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder, Amsterdam, Netherlands

With the Calvinist reform, in 1663, catholic churches were converted to the new official religion and Catholics lost the right to worship in public. However, under the characteristic religious tolerance of the Netherlands, they were allowed to worship as long as it was done in a discrete way. This house conceals a secret catholic church, which occupies three floors. Around the church, there are a series of houses that show how people lived int the 17th to 19th centuries. The Ons Lieve Heer op Soldier is the second oldest museum in Amsterdam, receiving about 100,000 visitors every year. Entrance fee : €10 Opening hours : Mon. to Sat. 10 am to 5 pm; Sun. and holidays 1 pm to 5 pm.

Conimbriga, Portugal

Conimbriga was inhabited at least since the 9th century BC until the 7th-8th centuries AD. The first settlement dates from the Chalcolithic and it's likely that the site was inhabited even sooner, during the Stone Age. By the 8th century BC, Conimbriga was trading with the Phoenicians through a nearby Phoenician trading post. When the Romans arrived in the 1st century BC, Conimbriga was a blooming settlement. It was easily Romanized and became a prosperous city. With the Romans came formal organisation, urban planning and a set of public buildings such as the forum, baths and even an amphitheatre. Between 70 and 80 AD, the city was elevated to the status of municipium. With the first Barbarian invasions, the defensive walls were reinforced; a paleo-Christian basilica was built in the 4th century. In the 5th century AD, the city was attacked and pillaged by the Suevi leading to its slow decline and abandonment. By 589 Conimbriga ceased to be the episcopal seat, which moved to n

Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

(Map of Alfama at the end) Alfama is the oldest and most typical neighborhood in Lisbon. Its name comes from the Ara bic "al hamman ", mea ning the baths or fountains, a reminder that this neighborhood was once the main supplier of water to the city.  During Moorish domination, Alfama, togeth er with the castle, constituted the whole of the city. It was divided in two, a more aristocratic upper Alfama, within the Moorish walls, and a more popular riverside Alfama (Alfama Mar). With the Christian conquest of Lisbon, Alfama spread to the east while the city spread to the west, to Baixa neighborhood. Decline begun in the Middle Ages when the wealthier part of the population abandoned the neighborhood and moved west, leaving it to the fishermen and the poor. Unlike in other parts of the city, most houses resisted the 1755 earthquake, and the neighborhood maintained its medieval layout, so although none of the houses dates back to that period, wandering through Al

Church of Our Lady of Incarnation, Lisbon, Portugal

The Church of Our Lady of Incarnation, in Chiado, was built by order of Countess of Pontevel, in 1708, implying the demolition of the 14th-century city walls and a watchtower. The church was badly damaged by the 1755 earthquake and was rebuilt, with significant changes, in 1784. However, works were only concluded in 1873. The church was built in the late Baroque style. Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Back to Lisbon