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Architecture of Portugal

Architecture of Portugal refers to the architecture practiced in


the territory of present-day Portugal since before the
foundation of the country in the 12th century. The term may
also refer to buildings created under Portuguese influence or
by Portuguese architects in other parts of the world,
particularly in the Portuguese Empire.
Portuguese architecture, like all aspects of Portuguese culture,
is marked by the history of the country and the several
peoples that have settled and influenced the current
Portuguese territory. These include Romans, Suebians among
other related Germanic peoples, Visigoths and Arabs, as well
as the influence from the main European artistic centres from
which were introduced to the broad architectural styles:
Romanesque,
Gothic,
Renaissance,
Baroque
and
Neoclassicism. Among the main local manifestations of
Portuguese architecture are the Manueline, the exuberant
Portuguese version of late Gothic; and the Pombaline style, a
mix of late Baroque and Neoclassicism that developed after
the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
In the 20th century, Portuguese architecture has produced a
number of renowned personalities like Fernando Tvora,
Eduardo Souto de Moura and, especially, lvaro Siza.
Pre Roman Period
Megaliths
The earliest examples of architectural activity in Portugal date
from the Neolithic and consist of structures associated with
Megalith culture. The Portuguese hinterland is dotted with a
large number of dolmens (called antas or dlmens), tumuli

(mamoas) and menhirs. The Alentejo region is particularly rich


in megalithic monuments, like the notable Anta Grande do
Zambujeiro, located near vora. Standing stones can be found
isolated or forming circular arrays (stone circles or cromlechs).
The Almendres Cromlech, also located near vora, is the
largest of the Iberian Peninsula, containing nearly 100 menhirs
arranged in two elliptical arrays on an East-West orientation.
Celtic villages
Pre-historic fortified villages dating from the Chalcolithic are
found along the Tagus river like that of Vila Nova de So
Pedro, near Cartaxo, and the Castro of Zambujal, near Torres
Vedras.
Roman Period
Architecture developed significantly in the 2nd century BC
with the arrival of the Romans, who called the Iberian
Peninsula Hispania. Conquered settlements and villages were
often modernised following Roman models, with the building
of a forum, streets, theatres, temples, baths, aqueducts and
other public buildings. An efficient array of roads and bridges
was built to link the cities and other settlements.
Braga (Bracara Augusta) was the capital of the Gallaecia
province and still has vestiges of public baths, a public
fountain (called Idol's Fountain) and a theatre. vora boasts a
well-preserved Roman temple, probably dedicated to the cult
of Emperor Augustus. A Roman bridge crosses the Tmega
River by the city of Chaves (Aquae Flaviae). Lisbon (Olissipo)
has the remains of a theatre in the Alfama neighbourhood.
Germanic Period

Roman domination in Hispania was ended with the invasions


by Germanic peoples (especially Sueves and Visigoths)
starting in the 5th century AD. Very few buildings survive from
the period of Visigoth domination (c.580-770), most of them
modified in subsequent centuries. One of these is the small
Saint Frutuoso Chapel, near Braga, which was part of a
Visigothic monastery built in the 7th century. The building has
a Greek cross floorplan with rectangular arms and a central
cupola; both the cupola and the arms of the chapel are
decorated with arch reliefs. The chapel shows clear influences
of Byzantine buildings like the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in
Ravenna.
Castles and palaces
During the Gothic era, several castles had to be either built or
reinforced, especially along the border with the Kingdom of
Castille. Compared to previous castles, Gothic castles in
Portugal tended to have more towers, often of circular or
semi-circular plan (to increase resistance to projectiles), keep
towers tended to be polygonal, and castle gates were often
defended by a pair of flanking towers. A second, lower wall
curtain (barbicans) were often built along the perimeter of the
main walls to prevent war machines from approaching the
castle. Features like machicolations and improved arrowslits
became also widespread.
Starting in the 14th century, keep towers became larger and
more sophisticated, with rib vaulting roofs and facilities like
fireplaces.
Keep
towers
with
improved
residential
characteristics can be found in the castles of Beja, Estremoz
and Bragana, while some later castles (15th century) became
real palaces, like those in Penedono, Ourm and Porto de Ms.
The most significant case is the Castle of Leiria, turned into a

royal palace by King John I. Some rooms of the palace are


decorated with splendid Gothic loggias, from which the
surrounding landscape could be appreciated by the King and
Queen.

Leydy Alvarez