Today we challenge our readers to venture on a visit to Solar dos Zagallos, an old small palace in Sobreda, 15 minutes away from Lisbon, right next to the city of Almada on the South bank of the Tagus River. In this surprising palatial house of the 18th century, currently belonging to the City Council of Almada, is installed the particularly dynamic Cultural Centre. Here are gathered the patrimonial value of the house and the cultural contemporary activities that justify our choice for a pleasant stroll. From the second half of the 17th century, this region began to be occupied…
Tagus River, Object of Contemplation and Amazement
From time immemorial that the Tagus River and the city of Lisbon maintain an economic and affective relationship. On the one hand, the river is responsible for the settlement of peoples and for development of the city; on the other hand, it is the city and its inhabitants that give it fame and importance, by considering it an object of contemplation and amazement.
Have you noticed that from the entire riverside area of Lisbon and also from the highest viewpoints you can sight the South bank?
Curiously, it’s from that bank that you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Lisbon. It is thus, equally indispensable to discover the city of Almada, a place where once settled peoples attracted by the gold and from which its name derives, from the Arabic al-ma’adan, “the mine”.
It is based on the experience of the river and its special relationship with its banks that we bring Tagus River to you.
About Tagus River
Tagus (in Portuguese Tejo) is the longest river of the Iberian Peninsula. It is born in Spain where it is called Tajo, divides Portugal and bathes Lisbon until it flows to the Atlantic Ocean.
But before the river connects to the ocean, we find its estuary, Mar da Palha (Sea of Straw), which constitutes a large basin, a natural and safe bay between Lisbon and Alhandra. Being a great shelter to boats, it was a sought and privileged location for the ancient people, originating several settlements on its banks. In addition, it was also a relevant source of food and economic resources for the abundance of fish and the salt trade from about 1200 B.C.
The Tagus also established itself as an axis of communication between Lisbon and the most inland areas of the country – from which the bread came – and the Atlantic, which brought the World.
Here we will show you the different aspects of Tagus River:
- The amazing fauna that inhabits it;
- The bridges that provide beautiful landscapes;
- The ferries that transport thousands of people every day;
- The traditional boats that can still be seen with its carefully preserved vibrant colours;
- Beautiful and diverse landscapes that alternate between places destined for leisure time, industrial parks and almost wild nature that can be observed in both margins.
The river has been mentioned throughout all ages in writings of erudite poets or in the sung expression of the simplest people. Protagonist of greatness and disgrace, the Tagus is thus, itself, the expression of the alfacinha (term to denote a person from Lisbon) simultaneously adventurous and fatalistic, open-minded and traditional.
About thirty years ago we developed a research on the decorative painting of the traditional boats of the Tagus River and we had the opportunity to know, at the time, one of the last popular painters, the master José Lopes. We found that little remained of this impressive legacy. The boats were, for the most part, ‘ghostly carcasses’ buried in the mud of the fluvial beaches of the South bank. The secret to its construction and painting was mastered by only a few. The interest in maintaining this knowledge seemed to disappear in less than a generation. At that time,…