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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 16:24

Portugal dos Pequenitos

In Coimbra you can visit Portugal dos Pequenitos, or Portugal for the Little Ones. It is a recreational-educational park intended primarily for children.

The park has thematic areas, like Monumental Portugal (miniatures of the country’s main monuments), Portuguese-speaking countries (representation of a.o. African countries, Brazil, Macau), The Islands (main monuments of Madeira and Azores), Coimbra, and Regional Houses.

You can also visit the Dress museum, that has around 300 miniature outfits on display from the 16th to the 20th century. Everything was handmade, and donated to the museum in 1950.

There is also a Barbie museum, the collection on display is the largest in Portugal and possibly one of the biggest in Europe, is composed of over 300 dolls. It includes the original Barbie of 1959, the Barbies of the world, the Hollywood collection, Barbies dressed by couturiers of international reputation, and many more.

Portugal dos Pequenitos also stands out as a high-quality display of sculptures and architectural art, the miniature size and detail of which continues to charm children and adults.

Published in Nature and Culture
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 14:59

Fado

Portugues sentimental song full of melancholy

Fado is the most popular folk music in Portugal. This Portuguese of way singing about life can be traced back to early 19th century. It originates from the poor districts of Lisbon. Fado literally means “fate” (from the Latin word “fatum”), and fado is part of every Portuguese person’s life.
The songs are about things that happen in life, melancholy, sadness, nostalgia for what no longer exists, but also about happiness and feasts. The Portuguese word for these feelings is “saudade”. This is such a typical Portuguese word, in other languages there is no translation for it.

There are two varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, and was orginally sung by women only. Coimbra's fado has a more academic character, and is exclusively sung by men.

Since the revival of fado in the nineties of the 20th century, fado gets more and more famous internationally, and reaches more people every day. Amalia Rodrigues is considered to be one of the most important and influential fadistas ever.

In both Lisbon and Coimbra there are some fado restaurants where (professional) fadistas (fado singers) perform their songs. Lisbon’s districts Bairro Alto, Alfama and Mouraria, are very well known for their fado restaurants.
Also in the Costa de Prata, several restaurants offer a complete night out, with diner and music. Prebookings are usually mandatory.

In November 2011 the Portuguese Fado was added to Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

An example...

Published in Nature and Culture
Monday, 13 April 2015 10:57

Coimbra

The most important university city in Portugal

Started as a Roman settlement, Coimbra is home to the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution (14th century) in the Portuguese-speaking world and one of the oldest in Europe.

A number of wellknown Portuguese people were born in Coimbra, like the poet Francisco Sá de Miranda (16th century) and sculptor Machado de Castro (18th century).
Poet Luis de Camões and the saint Santo António studied in Coimbra.

Before seizing the power over the country, Salazar was professor in economics at Coimbra’s university.

Scenic location

Coimbra is picturesquely situated at the river Mondego. A walk through the city is very worthwhile. Most attractions are so close to eachother that you can get a very good impression of the city in just one day. The old city centre is on top of a very steep hill, so a walk to the university buildings on top of the hill can be a bit exhausting. You can get a city map at the tourism office.

There are lots of things to see and do in Coimbra, for detailed information it’s best to bring a travelguide.

But whatever you do, you must see the main building of the Universidade de Coimbra, with the Biblioteca Velha (university’s library, 1728) as undisputed highlight.

www.uc.pt/en

Published in Beautiful cities