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Setúbal - History


The town has become the third largest port in Portugal being well sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean. It lies to the south of Lisbon and a good motorway provides easy access. The town of Setúbal is attractive with pedestrian streets, gardens and interesting shops. The 16th Century Cathedral Santa Maria da Graça has beautiful tiles from the 18th Century. The Igreja de Jesus is a remarkable Gothic church with interior columns carved in Arrábida pink stone from the nearby quarry. The architect Diogo Boitac designed this wonderful early example of Manueline style in 1494. The Museu de Setúbal is to be found in the Mosterio de Jesus and has many religious items and paintings. Part of the collection is dedicated to the famous 18th Century Portuguese romantic poet Bocage. The Museu de Arqueológia e Etnográfia has a varied and interesting collection of items discovered in the immediate region, from Bronze Age pots to the processing of cork. The 16th Century Castelo de São Filipe was constructed to defend the port from passing marauders and it has now been turned into an attractive luxury Pousada fore the benefit of tourists.

Setúbal - Nearby Locations
Inland to the west and south of Setúbal is the Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado, a nature reserve park consisting of vast stretches of mud flats, lagoons and small forests of pine trees. To the west of the town is the famous Portinho da Arrábida, a large cove type beach facing south and protected from the north winds by a 300 metres high slope. Half way up this slope set in the deserted natural greenery is a solitary 16th Century Franciscan Monastery enjoying what must be one of the most beautifully restful views in Europe. This Monastery has been carefully restored by the Fundação Oriente and is being used as a Study Centre.

Close to the beach there is a small 17th Century Fort that houses a small Sea and Marine Biology Centre. To the south on the old road to the Algarve is the town of Alcácer do Sal that was once the capital of the province of Al-Cassr until it was taken back in the 12th Century from the Moors. The castle and the Convento de Santo António was built in the 16th Century but was destroyed in 1755 by the earthquake. It has recently been restored into a comfortable Pousada for the overnight visitors to the region. Immediately to the north of Setúbal is the proud town of Palmela with its castle high walls sitting on the crown of its hill. In the 12th Century, Dom Afonso Henrigues gave this town to the Order of Santiago for their home. The Igreja do Convento de Sant'Iago, which was originally built in the 15th Century has suffered considerably from the destruction of the 1755 earthquake and has been recently restored with a part being made into a Pousada. From its high location the view from the walls stretch back to Lisbon and far into the Alentejo.

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Additional Photos by Jorge Jacinto (JorgeJacinto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 174 W: 0 N: 134] (1029)
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