History & Culture
Portugal is one of the oldest nations of Europe. Sea exploration and trade on the East brought wealth to Portugal.
The era of Portuguese discoveries started in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta, a North African city. When in 1498 Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India, Portugal became the world’s most prosperous trading center.
A military coup in 1926 was the start of an authoritarian regime that lasted till 1974. The revolution of ’74 brougth a slow road to democracy. In 1976 democracy was established. In 1986 Portugal joined the European Union. This hardly had any effect on the ages long, in proud independency fed traditions. A lot of Portugal’s national inheritance is rooted in the period of the discoveries.
Monuments build in a typical Portuguese style, the Manuel style, originate from that period. Azulejo’s, Portuguese tiles are found on and in buildings and houses. They also show the pride of Portugal’s maritime history.
History left its traces in the Alentejo as well. As from the Mesolithic time period marks are found. Buildings (or remains of buildings) in the cities mainly show Moorish and Roman influences. Évora was classified as world heritage in 1986 and therefore it is the best-known city.
The other Alentejo cities leave a trail of history as well and show a rich cultural inheritance. The typical Alentejo landscape is covered with remains of earlier days like stones and dolmens.