Silver Coast Culture and History

Fado dancer, ©mrbill78636/Flickr

The Silver Coast is very rich in cultural art and historic architecture. You can visit the many historic buildings, monuments and important landmarks in the region which define its culture and history. Explore the stunning monasteries and architectural masterpieces along Alcobaça and Batalha, the churches, century-old manor houses and fair castles.

Learn about the history of the region while viewing and admiring high rated art. You can also participate in the major cultural events which are organized every year all around the Silver Coast. Attend music and dance festivals, visit the theatre and different exhibitions, museums and galleries. There is always something to do on Silver Coast. Do not miss out on its well preserved culture.

Historical side

Looking at the many historical constructions around the Silver Coast we notice the various architectural influences that shaped the region’s environment. There are Moorish buildings, Gothic, Baroque, Manueline and also Renaissance style constructions. There are also exquisite visual arts displayed in the region: for example in Caldas da Rainha which is the national ceramics center.

Josefa de Óbidos paintings in Saint Mary Church, ©Fr Antunes/Flickr

Many famous workshops have taken place here. The town has several sculpture and ceramic museums and also its own design college. One of the finest painters of the 17th century was Josefa de Óbidos, who lived near the town of Óbidos. She left behind remarkable cultural masterpieces.

Cultural side

There are many little pieces which put together make up the essence of Silver Coast culture. One of these pieces is the fado, a unique Portuguese music style that mirrors nostalgia and aspiration. The lyrics and tunes of fado are sad, grim and reflect the deceptions and disillusionment of the people who live in an unstable metropolitan environment. The songs elaborate common topics like broken love, poverty and the sea. One of the most important and most popular representative of this type of music was Amália Rodrigues, who died in 1999.

Amália Rodrigues, ©comunicom.es/Flickr

The word fado literally means fate or destiny. Originally it dates back to the early 17th century and comes from the songs of marines who lamented their home far away and the people they loved. Fado has two kinds: Lisbon style and Coimbra style. The first one is more melodic and has a heavy romantic influence while Coimbra is more academic. What is special about Coimbra is that is sung exclusively by men wearing academic cloak, cape and leggings. It is usually performed in the city squares. Fado is also performed sometimes as a serenade.

Fado dancer, ©mrbill78636/Flickr

Do not forget to listen out when you pass though the Silver Coast, you never know when you’ll catch a fado serenade or a public Coimbra performance in one of the town squares of Portugal.

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