Centro de Portugal Region

River Beaches come to the Aldeias do Xisto

Monday, 22 October 2012 00:00

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River beaches are not new to the mountain Aldeias do Xisto, but in the coming years more programming will add to the cool clean river waters. Look for live music at the river beaches at Açude Pinto, Oleiros. Thursday concerts will be planned at the Praia Fluvial de Cambas. At the Praia Fluvial de Aldeia Ruiva, Proença-a-Nova, look for crafts, workshops and tastings and a library/beach will offer good reading at the Praia Fluvial de Ana de Aviz, Figueiró dos Vinhos.


Bussaco forest watch houses restored

Saturday, 20 October 2012 00:00

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The Buçaco Foundation has begun a preservation effort on the former fort watch houses called Casas do Bussaco. Set within the oldest natural reserve in Portugal, the houses are for rent, with room for six, three rooms, a bathroom,  patio, fireplace, and amazing views over the Nation Forest.  All for just 12euros per person or 60 euros per night. These were the last structure to be built in the forest, most put up around 1938.


Coimbra University Tower now open to visitors

Sunday, 07 October 2012 00:00

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The Tower of the University of Coimbra, which is almost three centuries old, opened to the public after preservation work. Guided tours may now be booked in advance. And, you can climb to the top of the Tower of the University of Coimbra, the largest academic symbol of the city. From the top of the tower with 180 steps and 34 meters high, it is possible to see almost the entire city, the fields and the Mondego River and the hills surrounding Coimbra. Tickets can be purchased at the University Store (Main Library atrium, near the Porta Férrea).


New Walking tours of historic Coimbra narrated by students at the local university

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 00:00

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GO! Leisure & Heritage based in Coimbra Launches "GO! Walks" - the creation and maintaining of trails in the city of Coimbra, to promote local heritage traditions associated with student at the university.

If you wish to find out more about Portugal's "city of students," walk with them when you visit Coimbra – for a stroll you will remember. They guarantee to have a student from the University of Coimbra waiting for you, at each of the most interesting points of the city, everyday, eager to show you the "Coimbra of the Students".

And they have discount vouchers for museums, monuments, local craft shop, bakeries, restaurants and other entertainment, so you can enjoy these daily tours in an affordable way. You'll easily figure out that by combining these student walks with the vouchers offering, this visit on foot will cost next to nothing.

The tour starts with a student from the University of Coimbra waiting for you every day at the river front square Largo da Portagem, in front of the statue of Joaquim António de Aguiar.

Morning visits - Riverside

  • Meeting time: 10:00 am
  • Leaving time: 10:15 am
  • Ending time: 1:00 pm (approx.)

Afternoon visits - Downtown

  • Meeting time: 2:30 pm
  • Leaving time: 2:45 pm
  • Ending time: 5:30 pm(approx.)

The subjects studied here were theology, medicine and law until the 18th century when the Marquês de Pombal changed the educational system and introduced other subjects. Today, the University has seven faculties - Arts, Law, Medicine, Science and Technology, Pharmacy, Economics and Psychology and Educational Sciences.

Founded by Dom Dinis,  the University was transferred between Lisbon and Coimbra during the reigns of several monarchs until it was definitively established in this city in 1537, by King Dom João III. Since then, it has continued to occupy the same buildings, the former mediaeval royal palace, acquired by the university in 1597.


Isaac Cardoso Interpretation Center of Jewish Culture to open in October in Trancoso

Saturday, 15 September 2012 00:00

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The mountains of the Centro de Portugal are rich in Jewish heritage and the walled town of Trancoso is no exception. The Jewish presence in Trancoso dates back to the 14th century. In October 2012, the new Isaac Cardoso Interpretation Centre will open, located in the Jewish quarter of Trancoso, near the “Poço do Mestre” - literally meaning “the master’s well"-which supposedly belonged to the rabbi of the village.

The Interpretation Centre is near “Casa do Gato Preto – Black Cat’s House – famous for its Jewish symbols sculpted in the façade: a Judah lion; the doors of Jerusalem; a Jewish person bowing and entering the Synagogue and four faces. Inside this house there is a sculpture reminiscent of a black cat, thus the name of the house, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Isaac Cardoso Interpretation Centre was designed by Portuguese architects Gonçalo Byrne and José Laranjeira. Named after the doctor Isaac Cardoso, who lived in the 17th century in Trancoso, this Centre pays tribute to his work of preservation of the Jewish past.

This Interpretation Centre will include: a small garden called Mayim Hayim (living waters); two rooms for temporary exhibitions; the synagogue Beit Mayim Hayim; a main room with a view over the well “Poço do Mestre” and the small garden in the ruins of the former building with sculpted cruciform marks and other signs. The building rises towards the light as a metaphor of the strong religious faith of the Jewish community.

Visitors of Isaac Cardoso Interpretation Centre access the archives of the 700 Jews who were born and lived in Trancoso, persecuted by the Inquisition. They access information on the 300 cruciform marks that can be found in the historical centre of Trancoso's Jewish quarter.

More than 500 years after the destruction of the Jewish community of Trancoso by the Inquisition, a mezuzah was placed on the door of the Synagogue Beit Mayim Hayim in June 2012. The mezuzah is one of the symbols of the Jewish religion. It is a small box  containing a 22-line parchment with versicles excerpted from the Torah.

In the words of Peter Geffen, “this is a tribute to all those who have suffered, who have been persecuted, tortured and killed by the Inquisition, the ones from Trancoso, from Portugal and from all over the world. This is also an expression of faith and hope, as well as the evidence that the memory of the Jewish Community of Trancoso and specifically the memory of the Portuguese Jews and their cultural, social and religious heritage has not perished despite persecutions.”


Who was Isaac Cardoso?

Fernando Isaac Cardoso was a 16th century physician and philosopher, who worked in the court of D. Filipe IV  and played a crucial role in the preservation of the Jewish past.

He was born in Trancoso in a family of "New Christians" and spent his youth in Valladolid, Spain. Isaac Cardoso graduated in Medicine and Philosophy in the University of Salamanca. He lived in Venice for a short period of time and settled in Verona, where he was acclaimed for his work and vision.

His most outstanding work was a 10-chapter treaty called Las Excelencias y Calunias de los Hebreos (1679, Amsterdam), where he analyses the value of the Jewish people and refutes charges brought against them by the state.



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