Showing posts from June, 2017

Medieval Fair of Obidos, Portugal

The Medieval Market of Obidos is a historical reenactment of the Middle Ages, promoted by the municipality, which usually takes place between mid-July and the first week of August. Hundreds of actors and extras dressed up accordingly, with the medieval castle and walls in the background, allow the visitor to travel hundreds of years back in time through tournaments, singing troubadours and other medieval entertainments, as well as medieval (or local traditional) food. Opening Hours:  2017 Edition- 13th July to 6th August, Thursday to Sunday, from 5 p.m.; tournament at 7.30 p.m. Entrance fee: €7; €5 if dressed in medieval attire or you can buy tickets with a 50% discount, online,  here . Medieval evenings (entrance+costume+tournament+supper) €38; for more information contact . How to go: From Lisbon, you can take the bus in Campo Grande, timetables  here .

Boat tour, Ghent, Belgium

All boat tours depart from Graslei or Korenlei and last about 40 minutes. There are several companies operating the tour but they all charge the same for the same length of a trip. During the tour, you're told the history of Ghent and of some of the most emblematic buildings in the city. Operating hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; mid.Oct. to Mar. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket: €7 Back to Ghent

Tomar, Portugal

The town of Tomar was established in 1159 on land granted to the Knights Templar by the first king of Portugal D. Afonso Henriques. At the time the Order was playing a crucial role in the reconquest of territory from the Muslims and in the formation of the new kingdom of Portugal. By order of Grand Master Gualdim Pais, in 1160 a Castle and a Convent started being built. Tomar would eventually become the headquarters of the Order in Portugal and local legend says that the choice was for mystical reasons and by divine inspiration. Also in 1160, the construction of the church of Santa Maria do Olival was ordered. Grand Master Gualdim Pais, as well as other twenty knights, are buried there. In 1312 King Philip the Fair ordered the arrest and execution of the Knights Templar in France. To keep the wealth of the Knights Templar in the country, King D. Dinis created the Order of Christ. He also persuaded the Pope to allow the fugitive Knights Templar to join the new Order. In 1418 He

Sacrè Coeur, Paris, France

After France was defeated and partially occupied by German troops, Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rahault de Fleury vowed to build a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart as a penance, since, in their opinion, the misfortune of France was a sign of spiritual decadence. At the end of 1872, the archbishop of Paris approved the vow and chose Montmartre for the construction. The work was funded by donations collected throughout France. In 1874 a public competition was held to select the best plan, which was won by architect Paul Abadie. In 1891 the basilica was inaugurated with the big dome yet to be built; it was consecrated in 1919. The mosaic of Christ in Glory, that decorates the apse, was inaugurated in 1923. Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., entrance free; access to the dome from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Oct. to Apr.) and 8.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (may to Sep.)- a charge of €6 applies; for security reason, access to the crypt is closed (June 2017). How to go: Anvers metro station

Belfry Tower and Cloth Hall, Ghent, Belgium

The Belfry is the symbol of the autonomy and independence of the city of Ghent. It started being built in 1313 with money from the members of the wool and textiles guilds. In those days merely the lower half of the present tower was built and for centuries wooden peaks of all sorts of designs adorned the tower. At the start of the 20th century, the tower gained its present peak. The gilded copper dragon that tops the tower was put there in 1377, as a symbolic guardian of the privileges of the city of Ghent. From 1442 to 1869 the Belfry was the watchtower of Ghent, the fire being the biggest danger for most of the time. The cloth hall dates from 1425 and was built as a storehouse for textiles produced in Ghent. A baroque extension added in 1741 served as the city's prison until 1902. The Belfry holds a carillon of 54 bells that have rung over 6 centuries. The biggest bell is named Roland, after the heroic commander-in-chief of Charlemagne. The current Roland dates from 1948

Place des Vosges, Paris, France

Place des Vosges is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris and also the oldest planned square in Paris. It was originally called Place Royale as it was planned by order of King Henri IV, in 1612. All buildings surrounding the square have the same design, with facades of red bricks and black slate roofs, all the same size except for the King's Pavillion and the Queen's Pavillion, on each side of the square, which are slightly taller. Despite this designation, Queen Anne of Austria, future wife of King Louis XIII,  was the only royal to live in one of the Pavillions (the Queen's), for a short time before her wedding. Cardinal Richelieu ordered a statue of King Louis XIII to be put in the middle of the square, but it was melted during the revolution. The statue that can be seen today is a copy from 1825. The square was renamed in 1799 when the Départment des Vosges (a mountainous region in France) became the first to pay taxes, supporting the Revolutionary Army. The