Madeira Laurel Forest (World Heritage)

Old Town of Guimarães (World Heritage)

The city in the north of Portugal is considered to be the cradle of the nation. The birthplace of the first Portuguese king, Alfonso I, became the country’s first capital in 1140. The picturesque old town has numerous churches and palaces from the 12th to 16th centuries. The Romanesque castle from the 10th century sits enthroned above the city, the Gothic palace of the Dukes of Bragança dates from the 15th century.

Guimarães old town: facts

Official title: Historic center of Guimarães
Cultural monument: Old town with a historical appearance that has been preserved up to the present day; among other things tower-reinforced Romanesque fort with a 27 m high belfry »Torre de Menagem« (10th century, reinforced several times); “Saõ Miguel de Castello” castle chapel (12th century, baptistery of Alfonso I) Paço Ducal (1420–42, Gothic palace of the Dukes of Braganca; interior decoration 16–18th centuries); Romanesque church “Nossa Senhora da Oliveira” (12th century, built on the site of the monastery, greatly expanded between 1387 and 1400) with a Manueline bell tower (1505); Baroque church “Santos Passos” (1769); Gothic church “Saõ Francisco” (around 1400, remodeled in the 18th century); Dominican monastery (13th century, now a museum); founded in the 4th century, the first capital of Portugal in the 12th century; Castle birthplace of the first Portuguese king, Alfonso I.
Continent: Europe
Country: Portugal
Location: Guimarães, Braga district
Appointment: 2001
Meaning: Evidence of homogeneous urban development from the Middle Ages to modern times; outstanding examples of medieval and baroque architecture; central place of the origin of the Portuguese identity and language in the 12th century.

Old town of Guimarães: history

960 Founding a monastery
1095 Guimarães capital of the Castilian county of Portucalia
1110 Birth of Alfonso Henriques (Alfons Heinrich), later King Alfons I of Portugal
1139 After the separation from Léon-Castile and the victory over the Moors, the Kingdom of Portugal was founded by Alfonso I.
1179 Coimbra replaces Guimarães as the residence
from 1256 Lisbon capital of Portugal
15./16. Century Guimarães seat of the Dukes of Braganca
from 1940 Extensive restoration work during the reign of dictator Salazar

Alto Douro Wine Region (World Heritage)

Alto Douro in north-eastern Portugal is home to the famous port wine. The region documents the almost 2000-year-old winemaking tradition, which is characterized by artificially created viticulture terraces on the steep slate and granite slopes.

Alto Douro wine region: facts

Official title: Alto Douro wine region
Cultural monument: Wine-growing region on the upper Douro in the valleys of the highlands cut deep into the slate; for centuries the construction and maintenance of man-made wine-growing terraces on the steep slate and granite slopes; Vineyards (a total of 242 km², port wine region defined by law for the first time in 1759) with grapes for port wine, among other things; Transport of the must for further processing to Vila Nova de Gaia near Porto; Cultural landscape over 2,000 years old, characterized by quintas (wineries), small villages, chapels and a dense network of streets and paths
Continent: Europe
Country: Portugal
Location: Upper Douro valley east of Peso de Regua
Appointment: 2001
Meaning: Historic region of 2000 years of wine production

Alto Douro wine region: history

7th century BC Chr. Settlement of the region by Lusitans
5th century BC Chr. Origin of viticulture in Portugal under Greek influence
2nd century BC Chr. Advance of the Romans
27 BC Chr. Lusitania Roman Province
800-1000 Arab occupation
from 14th century Export of the wine to Belgium and England
from 17th century Expansion of viticulture, creation of artificial terraces
1703 Methuen contract with England, rapid increase in wine production
1759 Marquez de Pombal delimits the port wine district; subsequently expanded several times

Madeira Laurel Forest (World Heritage)

The world heritage protects the remains of the laurel forests that once covered the entire island. The protected area extends to around 150 km² and contains laurel trees, the typical Madeira cedar, Madeiramai flower tree, tree heather and Madeira mahogany species.

Madeira Laurel Forest: Facts

Official title: Madeira laurel forest “Laurisilva”
Natural monument: Madeira Nature Park, placed under protection in 1982, covers the entire mountainous region (600–1860 m high) in the middle and north of the island; Total area around two thirds of the 741 km² island; Of this, around 145 km² are »Laurisilva«, Lauricea or laurel forest, a type of forest that was once widespread in Europe
Continent: Europe
Country: Portugal
Location: Madeira; Island in the Atlantic Ocean, 600 km west of Morocco
Appointment: 1999
Meaning: World’s largest contiguous laurel forest
Flora and fauna: Over 700 plant species, of which around 15% are endemic, including: bay tree, Til (stink laurel), Barbusano (Canary laurel), “Vinhático” (Madeira mahogany), dragon tree, juniper, ironwood tree, folhado (mayflower tree), Madeira holly, Madeira bilberry, orchid, shrub goose thistle, usury flower, straw flower, Madeira cranesbill, crested foxglove and various types of orchids; over 200 species of birds; Common buzzard, shearwater, “bis-bis” (Madeira golden cockerel), monochrome swifts and the endangered laurel or long-toed pigeon

Madeira Laurel Forest (World Heritage)