Portugal: Jerónimos Monastery

The parish of Belém, just west of Lisbon’s city centre, has many monuments related to Portugal’s naval history and the Age of Discoveries. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Torre de Belém have already been discussed. Yet Belém’s greatest treasure is arguably the awe-inspiring Jerónimos Monastery. It was built between…

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Portugal: Torre de Belém

It is perhaps a little hard to believe that the Torre de Belém was actually built as a fortress to protect the mouth of the Tagus river, the gateway to Lisbon. The tower is so beautifully decorated with Manueline and Renaissance elements, that it could easily have been part of…

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Portugal: Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Belém is an historically important part of Lisbon near the mouth of the river Tagus. The name Belém means ‘Bethlehem’ in Portuguese. This parts of Lisbon is known for its cultural and historical heritage, such as the famous Jerónimos Monastery and the Torre de Belém, a tower guarding the mouth…

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Portugal: Sintra

We have twice been to Sintra, a city west of Lisbon on the edge of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The first time was in May 2011, when we took a train from Lisbon’s Rossio Station, a trip of some 45 minutes. The second time was in August 2015. This time,…

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Rome: San Tommaso in Formis

San Tommasso in Formis is a very small church from the thirteenth century on the Caelian hill. It has been restored on multiple occasions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The church itself is not that interesting. Much more interesting churches with a much richer history, like the Santa Maria…

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Rome: Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is an old Roman Catholic church that is just within the third century Aurelian Walls of the city. The church is architecturally and culturally rather unimpressive, but it is very important from a religious point of view. There has been a Christian place of worship…

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Rome: San Pietro in Montorio

This church is located on the Gianicolo, an ancient hill north and west of Trastevere which was named after the Roman god Janus. The San Pietro in Montorio is dedicated to Saint Peter, the apostle who needs no further introduction. An old tradition dictates that Peter was crucified upside down…

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