Countries of the World
A Country Named Portugal - Os Herois do Mar - Culture like an Art

In the portuguese literature, the poetry it is eminent, two of the best portuguese poets of ever are Luis de Camoes e Fernando Pessoa, but we also may talk about Eugenio de Andrade, Florbela Espanca, Cesario Verde, Antonio Ramos Rosa, Mario Cesariny, Antero de Quental e Herberto Helder, and others. In the prose, Damiao de Gois, the (priest) Padre Antonio Vieira, Almeida Garrett, Eca de Queiros, Camilo Castelo Branco, Miguel Torga, Fernando Namora, Jose Cardoso Pires, Antonio Lobo Antunes e Jose Saramago (Literature Nobel 98) are important names. Fernando Pessoa was the poetry master, he wrote under many names, product of his personality, some of the most famous are Alberto Caeiro, Alvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. In the theatre, there is a higher figure that is Gil Vicente, Antonio Jose da Silva and Bernardo Santareno.

O poeta e um fingidor.
Finge tao completamente
Que chega a fingir que e dor
A dor que deveras sente.

E os que leem o que escreve,
Na dor lida sentem bem,
Nao as duas que ele teve,
Mas so a que eles nao tem.

E assim nas calhas de roda
Gira, a entreter a razao,
Esse comboio de corda
Que se chama coraaco.

Fernando Pessoa

Plastic Art

The 20th century saw the arrival of Modernism, and along with it came the most prominent Portuguese painters: Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, who was heavily influenced by French painters, particularly by the Delaunays. Among his best known works is Cancao Popular a Russa e o Figaro. Another great modernist painter/writer was Almada Negreiros, friend to the poet Fernando Pessoa, who painted his (Pessoais) portrait. He was deeply influenced by both Cubist and Futurist trends. Prominent international figures in visual arts nowadays include painters Vieira da Silva, Julio Pomar, and Paula Rego. Traditional architecture is distinctive. Modern Portugal has given the world renowned architects like Eduardo Souto de Moura, Alvaro Siza Vieira and Goncalo Byrne. Internally, Tomas Taveira is also noteworthy.

Since the 1990s, Portugal has increased the number of public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established in 1956 in Lisbon. These include the Belem Cultural Center in Lisbon, Serralves Foundation and the Casa da Musica, both in Porto, as well as new public cultural facilities like municipal libraries and concert halls which were built or renovated in many municipalities across the country.

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality Fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure.

The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word 'saudade' (that has no match in any language but it could be understood as nostalgia felt while missing someone), a word describing a sentiment. Another similar English translation can be to pine for something or someone.

Some enthusiasts claim that Fado's origins are a mixture of African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence.

There are two main varieties of Fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal, and has produced many renowned musicians. According to tradition, to applaud fado in Lisbon you clap your hands, in Coimbra you cough as if clearing your throat.

Mainstream fado performances during the 20th century included only a singer, a Portuguese guitar player and a classical guitar player but more recent settings range from singer and string quartet to full orchestra.

Some importante names are Alfredo Marceneiro, Amalia Rodrigues, Ana Moura, Anita Guerreiro, Camane,Carlos do Carmo, Dulce Pontes, Herminia Silva, Joao Braga, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, Mariza, all of this from Lisbon and from Coimbra are Jose Afonso and Luis Gois, and so many others.

In the image Amalia Rodrigues,she was and will be for ever the lady of the Fado

Experience Tradition and Preserve the Countryside with Historic Homestays

Portugal is a quiet and peaceful country with a subtle beauty that takes time to discover and appreciate. Its countryside, dotted with medieval castles, ruins, manor houses, and churches, beckons visitors to step back in time to days gone by. But the country's long and turbulent history is not merely a thing of the past; it lives on in Portugal's magnificent cultural heritage and in the lives and traditions of its hospitable people.

Faced with their decaying manor houses and historic homes, property owners decided to build on their rich culture and hospitality by restoring and opening them up to paying guests. But staying in one of Portugal's restored homes is much more than accommodation in a quaint old building. Most of the homes are hundreds of years old and host an impressive collection of art and antiques, with decor and antique furnishings that often reflect the period in which they were built. Some of the manor houses are the former countryseats of the Portuguese aristocracy and have often been in the hands of the same family for generations. All homes are privately owned and operated, and the owners live on their properties, which makes for personable service and the opportunity to experience daily Portuguese life. Visitors have the opportunity to spend time with their hosts and share meals with the family.

The Portuguese pride themselves in their regional cooking traditions, and your hosts will be delighted to prepare some of the best their region has to offer, from specialty cheeses and smoked meats and sausages to hearty soups and meat dishes. You may also be offered the regional wine and spoiled with the hostess's favorite sweets and pastries. Whether the home is a rustic farmhouse with a small herd of sheep, a working agricultural farm or a wine estate, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the traditional ways of working the land, harvesting fruit, and making wine.

(Image: Medieval towns dot the Portugese landscape)

Portuguese Monuments

Pena National Palace

The Pena National Palace (Portuguese: Palácio Nacional da Pena) is the oldest palace of the European Romanticism. It is located in the civil parish of São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

Quinta da Regaleira

Located in the Old Quarter of Sintra and classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, the Quinta da Regaleira is one of these special places. Built at the turn of the 20th century in the romantic ideal, this fascinating ensemble of constructions which have been built in the middle of the dense forest is the result of the achieving of the mythical magical dreams of its owner, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro (1848-1920) in conjunction with the talent of the scenographer-architect Luigi Manini (1848-1936).

The imagination of these two figures succeeded in achieving the revivalist sum of the most varied artistic trends - with particular reference to the Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance and the glorification of all things held sacred by humankind and particularly reflecting on Portuguese mythological and esoteric traditions.

The Quinta da Regaleira is a place to be felt. It is not sufficient to tell its story, of its countryside setting, its mysteries.

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