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National monuments of Portugal

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Title: National monuments of Portugal  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mangualde, Portugal, Buildings and structures in Portugal, São Jorge Castle, Águeda Municipality
Collection: Buildings and Structures in Portugal, Lists of Monuments and Memorials by Country, National Monuments in Portugal
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

National monuments of Portugal

The national monuments of Portugal (Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico (IGESPAR), the Portuguese government developed a registry of national monuments that includes a rich heritage of historical monuments throughout the country. This is a compilation of those structures that are designated as National Monuments only.


  • History 1
  • National monuments 2
    • Pre-historic 2.1
    • Archeological 2.2
    • Civic 2.3
    • Military 2.4
    • Natural 2.5
    • Religious 2.6
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The headquarters of IGESPAR (Institute for the Management of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage), the institute that succeeded the DEGMEN, located in a portion of the Ajuda National Palace
The Fort of Sacavém, the home to SIPA (Information System of Patrimonial Architecture), the database for nationally registered monuments

The first documented peoples to occupy the western coast of Iberia were the "Ostrimni" recorded in Ancient Latin poetry, whose territory stretched from Galicia (in northwestern Spain) to the Algarve (southern area of Portugal). The Greeks called the area of Portugal Ophiussa, and its inhabitants the Ophi. The serpent-worshipping Ophis are believed to have been a Celtic culture. These areas were eventually conquered, settled and assimilated by Indo-European peoples, made up of two probable invasions, the first by Proto-Celts who became the celebrated Lusitanians and the second by more developed Celts. Phoenicians also settled in trading posts along the coast and may have had contact with the assumably proto-Celtic Lusitanians, who, along with the Celtic Gallaeci, Celtici, Conii and Turduli became the base of the modern Portuguese ethnicity and culture. The Lusitanians along with the Gallaeci developed the Castro culture at the time of their invasion by the legions of Rome.

A formal organization of what would become Portugal began with the Roman occupation of the peninsula, which were responsible for re-purposing many of the castro settlements and moving the settlements from the hills to the valleys in the region. In the process, they constructed new buildings, established modern infrastructures (including internal water and baths) and a road network that connected Roman villas. Although there are many excavated ruins throughout the country, of particular importance are the Roman ruins of Conimbriga (Condeixa-a-Nova), in addition to many vestiges that encountered in the cities of Lisbon or Évora.

The disorganization in the Roman empire, which led to its fall, allowed the conquest by the Visigoths and the Christian Suevi in later years, along with other Germanic tribes. Many of the structures that survived this period include ancient churches and inscriptions built over previous constructions, which were the centre of Lusitanian settlements. Early Christian influences persisted for several centuries, until the Moors and Arab Berber peoples (from North Africa) invaded the Peninsula, including all of the territory which would eventually become Portugal. The Moors were first to construct many of the medieval castles that dot the landscapes of Portugal.

From the northern enclaves (Galicia and Asturias in Portugal's case), the Christian Reconquista began, expanding progressively south towards the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. This was not a permanent expansion, since the Moorish-Christian frontier continued to expand and retract for several years, with the victories and defeats of each battle.

Meanwhile, Portugal became a county of the Kingdom of León and briefly during the independence of the Kingdom of Galicia in the 1060s and 1070s. It became an autonomous dominion of the Kingdom of León in 1128, emerging as a fully independent kingdom in 1139, officially recognized by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143. After this period, and with the rise of the Portuguese state after the beginning of the Age of Discovery, Portuguese architecture expanded under the patronage of the wealthy kings, nobility, powerful clergy and through the many battles with rivals such as Castile, the French and Dutch. During these periods, many of the prominent buildings were destroyed, rebuilt, re-purposed and closed on the whims of the monarchy, which progressively used architectural projects to support their power, remember past glories or expand their position in the Iberian peninsula.

With the demise of the powerful clergy and religious orders, and eventually the fall of the monarchy in Portugal, many of the once important buildings in the country were either reused as seats of governmental power, abandoned into ruin or reused as museum, although some remained places of public use (such as the religious places of worship). The 20th century movement to restore and preserve the architectural history of Portugal was initiated under the Direcção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (DGMEN) during the Estado Novo regime in order to inventory national treasures and preserve existing monuments.

National monuments

Although there are numerous monuments from various ages some of them have a special value due to their historical, architectural, artistic and cultural importance. These monuments are classified and protected by the Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico (IGESPAR) (Institute for the Management of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage), which classifies national treasures in terms of several general criteria: historic and cultural, aesthetic and social, technical and scientific, but also includes issues of integrity, authenticity and exemplary importance.

Owing to its relative value and importance, the cultural property may be listed as or national, public or municipal interest.[1] In addition, these definitions are also defined in terms of being monuments, groups of buildings or sites, based on existing international conventions. IGESPAR regularly proposes the listing of new assets based on its mission to safeguard national heritage. As time goes by, a wide variety of new buildings and groups of structures of varying typologies have been added to the national register of monuments, such modernist architecture, vernacular landscapes, archaeological sites, monastic buildings/structures, historical gardens, and more recently human-built business and industrial establishments.[1]

The listing process follows a strict procedure defined by Decree-Law no. 309/2009 (23 October 2009), which entered into force in January 2010.[1]

IGESPAR also monitors and participates in the UNESCO registry of World Heritage Sites as a member state: there are 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in territory of Portugal.[2] Similarly, eleven assets in the UNESCO world heritage list of 878 sites were former Portuguese possessions at one time, spread across three continents (Africa, America and Asia) associated with period of Portuguese Discoveries.[3]


Dolmen of Pendilhe located in Pendilhe, municipality of Vila Nova de Paiva 
Dolmen of Fonte Coberta, Vila Chã, municipality of Alijó 
The arranged rocks of the Cromolech of Almendres, in Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, municipality of Évora 
Rock drawings in the UNESCO designated Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde 
Alentejo region
Algarve region
Centro region
Lisbon region
Norte region


The Roman Temple of Évora in the parish of Sé e São Pedro, municipality of Évora
The mosaicked floors of the Roman Ruins of Conímbriga, in (Condeixa-a-Velha, municipality of Condeixa-a-Nova
The Trajan's Bridge surmounting the Tâmega River in Chaves 
The isolated tower of Centum Cellas in Colmeal da Torre, municipality of Belmonte 
Alentejo region
Algarve region
Centro region
Lisbon region
Norte region


The Romanesque inspired Domus Municipalis, built in the 14th century 
The front façade of the Queluz National Palace with ornate water fountain 
The multi-coloured Pena National Palace used as a summer home for the Royal Family in Sintra 
The São Bento Palace modern home of the Portuguese National Assembly 
Alentejo region
Algarve region
  • Arch of Vila-a-Dentro (, Faro)
Centro region
Lisbon region
Norte region


The Afonso Henriques 
The Castelo of Feira (Santa Maria da Feira), erected over a temple dedicated to god Bandeveluco-Toiraeco 
The cradle of Portuguese history; the Castle of Guimarães where Afonso Henriques established his first Court 
The ornate bastions and tower of the Belém Tower, iconic symbol of Lisbon and defensive bulwark on the Tagus River 
Alentejo region
Algarve region
Centro region
Lisbon region
Norte region


  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra (Sintra)


The humble hermitage Convent of the Capuchos secluded in the forests of Sintra Nature Park 
Lateral wall and transept of the Cathedral of Évora with lantern-tower and the rose window 
The interior cloister of the Monastery of the Jeronimos with its Manueline architecture 
The monumental funerary Church of Santa Engrácia, home to the National Pantheon 
Alentejo region
Algarve region
Centro region
Lisbon region
Norte region


  1. ^ a b c Heritage listing, Lisbon, Portugal: IGESPAR - Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico, 2011, retrieved 22 July 2011 
  2. ^ World Heritage in Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal: IGESPAR - Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico, 2011, retrieved 22 July 2011 
  3. ^ World Cultural Heritage of Portuguese Origin, Lisbon, Portugal: IGESPAR - Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico, 2011, retrieved 22 July 2011 
  4. ^ UNESCO designated World Heritage Site reference 886, as Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde
  5. ^ Although installed at the National Archaeological Museum in Lisbon, these statues were actually removed from the municipality of Montalegre and transported to Santa Maria de Belém

External links

  • IGESPAR Official Site
  • IGESPAR Built Heritage search
  • IGESPAR Archaeological Sites search
  • SIPA Architectural database search
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