10 Things You Don't Know About Portugal
Updated: May 8
Here we are again in Portugal's curiosity column, what shall I tell you this time? Come on, let's find out together.
1- DID YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS A PORTUGUESE QUEEN WHO INVENTED THE CAIPIRINHA?
Her name was Carlota Joaquina, wife of King D. João VI, the queen who invented the famous Brazilian drink. Hating the heat, it was customary to have jams made with fruit and cachaça but also ask for glasses of this mix with the addition of ice to cool down. In some official documents you can read in the palace's shopping list several bottles of sugar cane distillate and it seems that the queen drank up to 20 litres of cocktails. You understand the queen...
2- THE ICE AT COURT, WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW
Speaking of Caipirinha, I'm joking, of course, do you know where it came from on the ice of the Portuguese courts? Mainly, for reasons of proximity to Lisbon, from the Serra de Montejunto where the Real Fábrica do Gelo was built. For about 120 years it was from there that the blocks of ice that cooled the court and the luxurious cafes of Lisbon arrived. The end of production dates back to 1850 when the refrigerator was invented.
3- IN ALENTEJO CANNABIS WILL BE LEGALLY GROWN
In Aljustrel cannabis will be cultivated for medicinal purposes. There will be 70 hectares dedicated to medicinal cultivation, creating 150 new jobs. I would also remind you that in July 2018, Parliament approved the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Portugal.
4- DID YOU KNOW THAT THE FIRST ALPHABET IN THE WORLD IS PORTUGUESE?
Hear, hear: the world's first alphabet (not to be confused with writing) was created 6 thousand years ago in Trás-os-Montes and is called "Escrita do Alvão". A thousand years before the Phoenician one. Alphabet discovered by chance thanks to a dolmen in northern Portugal.
5- DISCOVERED NEW DINOSAUR'S NEST IN LOURINHÃ
We already knew that Lourinhã was the dinosaur capital of Portugal. We already knew that they had created a study and amusement park here at the Jurassic Park, but we did not know that the oldest dinosaur nests in Europe, dating back 152 million years, were discovered here. The discovery was made on the beach of Caniçal where the nest of a large carnivorous dinosaur, the fourth in this area, perhaps of the species Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, came to light. The other three nests are in Paimogo, Peralta and Casal da Rola. All with eggs of about 12 cm in a large heap that can reach up to 100 eggs deposited.
5- A DINNER IN A GLASS BOX SUSPENDED IN THE MARBLE QUARRY OF VILA VIÇOSA
For those who do not suffer from vertigo this will certainly be an unusual experience to have in Portugal. La Pedreira D'El Rey, in Bencatel, has a new tourist experience: visiting the quarry from a glass case. For now, you can only visit, the dinners will be activated shortly. The dinners will have to be booked and will have a maximum of 20 participants and the dishes will be signed by the chef Pedro Mendes, from the Alentejo Marmòris hotel. For more information you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6- DID YOU KNOW THAT STANLEY KUBRICK PHOTOGRAPHED PORTUGAL?
Yes, the famous director himself. Kubrick, for those who didn't know it, also has a long career as a photographer started at the age of 17 (1939). He sold his photos to many renowned and non-famous magazines and for one of these magazines he did a photo shoot in Portugal. The theme of the reportage was "how Portugal had managed to escape unscathed from World War II" for Look magazine. Wanting to capture with his lens other aspects of the country, he began an itinerant journey that led to numerous international exhibitions and twelve thousand negatives. Thanks to his work many other renowned photographers came to Portugal to photograph, who? Henri Cartier-Bresson and Edouard Boubat, just to name a couple.
7- CASCAIS IN 2020 WILL BE THE FIRST CITY WITH FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Great news for those who will be in Cascais in 2020: you can travel for free on buses. In addition, those who will have the MobiCascais application will be entitled to 100 free minutes of parking per day (except in the red zones).
8- WHAT IF WE DRINK BEER MADE WITH PINEAPPLE AND TEA FROM THE AZORES?
A craft brewery based in the north of Portugal in the Minho region has created beers with the "flavours of the Azores", more precisely with pineapple and black tea produced on the islands. The Gorreana, the only ancient tea plantation in Europe (today there are also several in Italy), joins the Letra, created in 2013, a craft brewery that has already created over 50 different beers.
9- DID YOU KNOW THAT THE MOST REMOTE ISLAND IN THE WORLD HAS A PORTUGUESE NAME?
Lovers of geography, travel and maps, like me, will be intrigued by the title of this penultimate curiosity today. The most isolated island in the world has a Portuguese name, Tristão da Cunha, and has only 246 inhabitants. Located in an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, it belongs to the British ultramarine territory of Santa Helena, Ascensão and Tristão da Cunha. Why a Portuguese name? Because it was the navigator Tristão da Cunha who discovered it in 1507, although in reality he never managed to put his feet on the island because of the difficult conditions of access. Only in 1700 it seems that the island began to be inhabited, the first to live there were American whale hunters who became the founders of the island Tristão da Cunha.
10- IT SEEMS THAT THE FIRST POPULATION OF LISBON DATES BACK TO THE NEOLITHIC PERIOD
Thanks to new archaeological finds in the Parque Florestal de Monsanto, it seems that we should rewrite the history of Lisbon once again. The vestiges found date back to the Neolithic period, which leads researchers to analyse the evidence that it was at that time that Lisbon began to be inhabited by a sedentary population. We will have to wait until 2020 to have the first public results during an exhibition that they are organising in Monsanto.