The Romanesque Route: a different way to visit Portugal

By : September 13th, 2020 Places and Monuments 0 Comments

The Romanesque Route is a tourist and cultural route that takes us in the north of Portugal to discover an unforgettable heritage.

Composed of more than 27 programs, with durations that can last from 1 to 5 days, the route takes us through places and monuments with history and brings us memories of the Romanesque style. Three regions, three routes to discover about 60 monuments and Romanesque constructions in Portugal.

DISCOVERING THE ROMANIC DOURO: 14 monuments, among which stands the Church of São Martinho de Mouros, in Resende,

THROUGH THE TÂMEGA VALLEY: a journey through unforgettable landscapes and over 25 monuments. This route starts at the Church of São Pedro de Abragão and ends at the Church of Salvador de Fervença, passing through Amarante, Celorico de Basto, Marco de Canaveses and Penafiel.

THE CHARMS OF THE SOUSA VALLEY: on this route, composed of 16 monuments scattered across Felgueiras, Lousada, Penafiel, Paredes and Paços de Ferreira, the Monastery of Salvador Paço de Sousa stands out. It is one of the most symbolic and charismatic constructions of the Romanesque style in the North of the country. It was a donor by Count D. Henrique, father of D. Afonso Henriques (first king of Portugal), and became one of the most famous Benedictine monasteries.

The Romanesque style arrived in Portugal at the end of the 11th century, during the reign of D. Afonso Henriques, as a consequence of the Europeanisation of culture. The term “Romanesque” is thus derived from the influences of the Roman Empire, which dominated Western Europe for centuries.

With the emergence of Romanesque culture, several works began in the most diverse places in the country, namely the Monastery of Santa Cruz and the Cathedrals of Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto. This style being predominantly religious, most of these works were requested by bishops and abbots from the main national monasteries and dioceses – Braga, Coimbra, Porto, Lamego, Viseu, Lisbon and Évora.

Some of the most characteristic elements of the Romanesque style, and that a large part of the buildings ended up incorporating, were the more theatrical aspects, the wider spaces and without visual barriers – apart from the cult zones -, the longitudinal plants – in the shape of a cross – , the vaults, the few windows, archivolt arches, sculptures, stained glass, tapestries and paintings inspired by the Catholic religion – where the fresco technique was used, with bright and strong colours. These last elements were very important because, in the Middle Ages, few knew how to read and write and, thus, these paintings served as “religious literacy”.

Romanesque sculpture was used, above all, to adorn the sacred sites. Therefore, the main focus was religion. The sculptures had unnatural forms and were usually represented by figures carved on the walls of the churches.

We can find the marks of this culture all over the country, both in terms of architecture and painting and sculpture, especially in the northern and central areas.

A different way to visit Portugal, a time travel that is waiting for you!


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