The historic town of Guimarães is associated with the emergence of the Portuguese national identity in the 12th century. An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques. Guimarães historic town centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.
Founded in the 4th century, Guimarães became the first capital of Portugal in the 12th century. Its historic centre is an extremely well preserved and an authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifying the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to the 19th centuries through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques. This variety of different building types documents the responses to the evolving needs of the community. A particular type of construction developed here in the Middle Ages was used widely in the then Portuguese colonies. It featured a ground floor in granite with a half-timbered structure above, a technology that was transmitted to Portuguese colonies in Africa and the New World, becoming their characteristic feature.
The Historic Centre of Guimarães is distinguished in particular for the integrity of its historically authentic building stock. Examples from the period from 950 to 1498 include the two anchors around which Guimarães initially developed, the castle in the north and the monastic complex in the south. The period from 1498 to 1693 is characterized by noble houses and the development of civic facilities, city squares, etc. While there have been some changes during the modern era, the historic centre of Guimarães has maintained its medieval urban layout. The continuity in traditional technology and the maintenance and gradual change have contributed to an exceptionally harmonious townscape.
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.