Photographer's Note

No tour of Northern Portugal is complete without a visit to Buaco, a mountain forest located just northeast of Coimbra on the way to Viseu. Buaco is a delightful refuge of cypress groves, ferns, statues, fountains, and formal gardens.

The Buaco Forest was first settled by Benedictine monks in the 6th Century. Later, it was administered by priests from Coimbra Cathedral, and a Papal edict of 1622 declared that women entering the forest would be excommunicated.

The Discalced Carmelites, an order of barefooted monks, took over in 1628. They built a monastery and surrounded the 250-acre (105-hectare) forest with a wall. Over the centuries, the monks and the government foresters who succeeded them have planted nearly 400 Portuguese varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers while importing some 300 species from as far away as Mexico, Chile, and Japan.

In 1810, 66,000 French troops attacked the Duke of Wellington and his army of British and Portuguese soldiers during the unsuccessful Napoleonic invasion of Portugal. The forest survived, and so did the monastery--although it fell into government hands in 1834, when monasteries were abolished throughout Portugal.

Later in the 19th Century, the Portuguese royal family commissioned an Italian operatic scene painter and architect to build a summer palace and hunting lodge in the Buaco Forest. The building (see photo above) was completed in 1907, shortly before the assassination of the king and crown prince. The king's Swiss chef obtained government permission to turn the palace into a hotel in 1910, and guests have been wallowing in pseudo-Manueline architecture and Edwardian comforts ever since.

This is my visit card... ;)))

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Carlos Ferreira (Spoony) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 22 N: 583] (3539)
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  • Date Taken: 2005-04-09
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  • Exposure: f/3.3
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  • Date Submitted: 2005-09-21 18:22
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Additional Photos by Carlos Ferreira (Spoony) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 22 N: 583] (3539)
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