Santuário de Santa Luzia

Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Building work of Santuário de Santa Luzia started in 1904, and lasted until 1959. It is the work of architect Miguel Ventura Terra, who was succeeded by Miguel Nogueira, after the death of his master in 1919.

Architecturally, it is of Romanesque-Byzantine inspiration, fitting into the revivalist architecture that marked the turn of the century. Its imposing rose windows are the largest in the Iberian Peninsula and the second largest in Europe.

You can reach the top of the Monte de Santa Luzia by funicular (elevator), by car or by climbing the steps. This place dominates an important part of the Lima river valley and a large stretch of the seashore to the north and south of the estuary, as well as the green mountain range. This panorama has been rated by the National Geographic Magazine as the third most beautiful in the World. 

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Founded: 1904-1959
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Emily (3 months ago)
Walk all the way from the town to the the of the temple if you can! Beautiful. Amazing monument to Portugal having not been a part of WWI (or also WWII).
Claudia Santos (4 months ago)
Very peaceful place, with an excellent view of the city (Viana do Castelo). I recommend taking the lift to the top of the church for an even better view and experience - by doing so, it is possible to see the very old and amazing old stone walls of the church. All the places are accessible to everyone, inside the church and out (lift not included). It is possible to eat outside as there are parks with stone tables and benches.
Bianca E Silva (5 months ago)
This sanctuary is located at the top of the hill, giving spectacular panoramic views of the city and the coast line. When we went, unfortunately there was a lot of fog. Nevertheless, we could see the view every now and then. Apart from the view, the sanctuary itself is beautiful and well-maintained. The artwork in the interior is to die for.
Hugo Sampaio (8 months ago)
Excellent panoramic view. While there, make a prayer in the church and enjoy this particular Viana's view.
Bruno R Santos (2 years ago)
The most popular, iconic, magical and "must visit" spot in town. The view is breath-taking, especially, in Zimbório (the church top - the entrance is from the back), the air is fresh and pure, the church is beautiful. Take a time to walk around and enjoy the nature. No rush. There's a stairway and a funicular from the city centre that I recommend. Enjoy!
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.