Casas em Taipa – Construção Sustentável

A construção em terra, pedra e madeira permite cumprir um dos principais papéis que se impõe às construções actuais: a sustentabilidade dos materiais utilizados. Qualquer um destes materiais é reutilizável, não constituindo qualquer perigo, nem sobrecarga ambiental mesmo após a sua vida útil.

EcoCasa Portuguesa
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Foto:Habitação em Beja
Habitação unifamiliar construída em taipa…
Proj. Arquitectura Bartolomeu Costa Cabral, João Gomes
e Mário Anselmo Crespo

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Cultural holiday in Alentejo, Portugal’s

Portugal has long been a favourite destination for British travellers. We love the food, we love the sunshine and we love the beaches. We also love the thrifty travel deals. But if you’re feeling a tad ‘been there, done that’ about Lisbon or the Algarve, we have a relatively undiscovered spot to recommend to you: the Alentejo region. Often referred to as ‘Europe’s best-kept secret,’ this spectacular area in the south-west is blessed with jaw-droppingly gorgeous coastline, gloriously expresive landscapes and is positively dripping in historical goodies just waiting for you to explore them. It’s also the most depopulated region in the country – making it the best place to go in Portugal if you’re craving a bit of isolation and serenity. So hang onto your sun hats history buffs, and get ready for the short break of a lifetime!

Évora, the region’s capital
With a rich history dating back over two millennia, Évora has recently been ranked as the second-most ‘liveable’ city in Portugal and is a lovely place to visit for a few days. Stroll around the well-preserved old town, noting the medieval walls. Wander through Giraldo Square. There are several sites to visit – the glorious Cathedral of Evora is one of the most important gothic monuments in the entire country. Saint Francis Church, with its mixed Gothic-Manueline styles, is well worth seeing for it’s beautiful Baroque chapels, one of which, Capela dos Ossos, is totally covered in human bones! If you like palaces, you’re spoilt for choice. Check out the former residence of Vasco da Gama. This palace is stunning – make sure to see the Renaissance murals. There’s also the Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval, parts of which date back to a castle that was burnt down in 1384, and the Palace of the Counts of Basto with it’s vibrant combination of architectural styles. Then there’s the Roman Temple, dating back to the 1st century! It’s thought that it was dedicated to the Cult of Emperor Augustus. The city’s most famous landmark and one of a kind in the country. Stay at the Pousada Vale do Gaio, who have rooms from £89.

Santarém, the city of churches
Thought to have been founded by the Romans in the 2nd century, and later became an important Arab cultural centre. King Fernando the 1st loved the city so much he requested to be buried there, and now lies in the convent of St. Francis. The city centre is just gorgeous. Those with an interest in gothic churches take note: there are more in Santarem than anywhere else in Portugal. Visit the site of the Old Castle of Santarem, or thePorto do Sol, and take in the wonderful view offered from the gardens. The city’s ancient defensive tower (theTorre das Cabaças) is well worth seeing, as is the Church of Saint John of Alporão. Find the Fonte da Figueira, a wonderful 14th century fountain. Then, it’s just a question of how many churches you can visit before they all blur into one! Treat yourself and stay in Hotel Lusitano, ideal for a romantic break. Maybe reward yourself with a massage? Your legs are bound to be aching after visiting all those churches…

Romance in Beja
Beja has existed since Celtic times. Julius Caesar renamed the city Pax Julia after he made peace with the Visigoths in 48 BCE.  Throughout its long history the town has seen more war than peace, but happily today it enjoys a serene existence high on a hillside. Your overall impression of the town will be inevitably shaped by its imposing 13th century castle. You can climb the 197 steps to see the view from the top of the keep. Just next door to the castle you’ll find one of the only remaining pre-Romanesque churches in Portugal. Today it houses a collection of Visigothic art. You could easily lose a few hours touring the Museu da Rainha D. Leonor with its baroque chapel and significant collection of Spanish, Flemish and Portuguese paintings. Romantics will love to learn that Beja is famous in Portuguese and French literary circles because of the discovery of love letters written by a 17th century nun, Mariana Alcoforado, to the object of her affections, the French officer Noël Bouton, Marquis de Chamilly who later became Marshall of France. Visit the window through which she first spied him walking in the garden. Stay at the lovely Hotel Rural Clube de Campo Villa Galé, a great option for families.

Take a break
If all that history gets too much for you, we suggest you take a break from everything and head to Porto Côvo, a real retreat from the world. After a day or two spent in this tiny fishing village, you’ll feel totally rejuvenated. Self-catering accommodation is very popular here, with some great cottages and holiday apartments on offer. If you want a hotel, stay in the eco-friendly Porto Côvo Hotel Apartamento. Spend your days exploring the pristine beaches nestled between tiny coves. And from here you’re ideally placed to visit Vila Nova de Milfontes, a lovely little city with a wonderful view over the river. Hop on a boat and take a day trip to Pessegueiro Island. Hike through the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede, a gorgeous nature park that also houses some lovely medieval villages. One of the nicest things to do along this coastline is join a horse-riding tour.Equestrian Escapes offer 3-night itineraries. You’ll need to be at least an intermediate rider, as you’ll be riding 4-6 hours a day on Lusitanos and Lusitano/Portuguese crosses. Follow trails alongside gorgeous beaches and wind-swept coastal tracks. Unforgettable.

Don’t forget to eat
Food in Portugal is pretty spectacular. The Alentejo region produces its own cheese, wine, smoked hams and sausages. Sample them all, why don’t you?! Don’t come home until you’ve eaten at least one pastéis de nata(custard tart), some bolo do caco (amazingly delicious garlic bread), bacalhau (dried salt cod) and broas (a kind of sweet potato cake).

When to go
The region receives most of its rain between late autumn and early spring. If you can’t take extreme heat, avoid visiting mid-summer. The climate is very dry and temperatures reach up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Portugal’s Alentejo region

Praça do Giraldo, Evora

Praça do Giraldo, Évora, Portugal. Photograph: Michele Falzone/Getty Images

In these environment-conscious times the opening of a new airport is not normally cause for celebration. But I think the world will forgive tiny Beja airport for putting up the bunting and letting the band strike up tomorrow to celebrate the inaugural landing of flight BD1234 from Heathrow.

For one thing, we’re talking about an Embraer 49-seater, flying just once a week to the airport, a former military airbase that is listed as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle. (The only other flightsfrom here are to Cape Verde, used mainly by migrant workers.) For another, if ever there was a region in need of the economic shot in the arm that a new airport provides, it is the Alentejo – with Beja sitting in its heart – the poorest region of the poorest country in western Europe.

The Alentejo, derived from Além-Tejo or Beyond the Tagus, covers almost a third of Portugal, from the south bank of the Tagus down to the Algarve, and from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border in the east. But it’s home to just 7% of the country’s population, economic flight having been a fact of life here for generations.

To the visitor it feels like undiscovered territory, a sleepy landscape of empty roads, pretty white villages, fields of half-naked cork-oak trees (the bark harvested from their trunks), vines, olive groves and small towns that have remained practically unchanged for centuries – and perfect road trip country.

Last weekend, to get a sneak preview of this newly accessible region, we picked up a car from Lisbon airport and headed first for the Alentejo coast, which starts just south of the capital, and is, with the exception of an industrial zone around the town of Sines, one continuous stretch of wild cliffs and virginal beaches.

Not that there was anything virginal about Praia do Tonel, near Zambujeira do Mar, when we got there the only couple in this beautiful golden sandy bay were enjoying some alfresco nookie. The fact that it was a sunny Saturday afternoon yet they seemed as surprised to see us as we them, tells you just how deserted this coastline is.

This isolation also attracts one of the few colonies (or musters) of storks on the Portuguese coast. Getting an eyeful of the domestic life of these huge birds half a stone’s throw from the cliff path was even more surprising than seeing a copulating couple, and we spent two hours watching the storks tend their young in their huge basket-like nests as waves crashed against the granite cliffs below them.

Portugal TourilThe pool at Herdade do Touril.We had borrowed bicycles from our guesthouse, Herdade do Touril, a chic and tranquil homestead of whitewashed houses scattered over 365 hectares, three miles north of Zambujeira. Our cycle ride around the property’s perimeter took in the coastal path and fields bursting with colourful wild flowers. After a few hours’ brisk exercise in the warm sun, jumping into Touril’s lovely saltwater pool (which has graced the cover of Condé Nast Traveller) at the end of the ride was blissful.

Before heading inland we drove up the coast to Vila Nova de Milfontes, a pretty town on the beach-fringed estuary of the Mira river, for a lunch of barbecued sardines and shellfish at Restaurante A Choupana (Praia do Farol, +351 283 996 643). The combination of Portuguese vinho verde and fresh seafood is my idea of food heaven (particularly in an open-air restaurant bang on the beach with a view of the Atlantic).

It was a wrench to leave, but the rolling plains of the Alentejo are dotted with dozens of picturesque medieval towns. We had time to see just one, so we headed, via a vineyard or two, to the jewel in its crown, the walled city of Évora.

In keeping with the historic splendour of the place, we booked into the Pousada de Évora, a converted 14th-century convent wrapped round a series of shady courtyards. Pousadas de Portugal is a state-run chain ofhotels in historic buildings such as monasteries or castles, similar to Spain’s paradors.

Like their Spanish counterparts, pousadas offer affordable stays in some of the country’s most magnificent old buildings (they offer excellent online deals), many of them in the Alentejo. But, in my experience at least, they also share the paradors’ weak spot, in that the restaurant was no match for the majesty of the surroundings.

When we arrived late (but well before closing) for dinner, the head waiter, who had the appearance of Manuel and the manners of Basil Fawlty, couldn’t disguise his indignation. So angry he could barely speak, he banged cutlery and plates down on our table. The food was the most mediocre of our trip, and we ate it in silence and without making eye contact in order to avoid an attack of the giggles and the wrath of Manuel.

But this was a small grumble. The pousada, like the town itself, is all about Portugal’s history. The old town of Évora is a Unesco world heritage site, and right outside the front door of the pousada stands the 2,000-year-old Templo Romano, one of the finest Roman monuments on the Iberian peninsula. There’s also a 16th-century aqueduct leading north-west out of the city that can be walked for five miles, and the macabre crypt of the stunning Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), where the walls are neatly lined with the bones and skulls of around 5,000 former Évora residents.

Nine miles west of the city is the Cromeleque dos Almendres, an oval of almost 100 granite monoliths that makes up one of the largest megalithic monuments in Europe. It’s not as spectacular as Stonehenge perhaps, but this fascinating site isn’t remotely commercial either. It sits, very peacefully, on a hillside of olive and cork trees, and access is free.

We had our fill of sightseeing in Évora, but it’s a city where it’s almost as much fun to wander around, get lost and hang out at bars and cafes in the numerous squares.

A weekend didn’t feel nearly long enough to slow down to the Alentejo’s very seductive pace of life, or to take in enough of this beautiful, quiet corner of Europe. But with the new flights into Beja on Sunday mornings only, staying for a week will be the norm. Three days on those gorgeous beaches and another three or four pottering around the Alentejo’s vineyards and white marble villages … now that sounds just about right.

Rural Beja

Rural Beja 2008

Rural Beja 2008
Rural Beja 2008

Rural Beja 2008

Programa em pdf para download aqui.

Fora de Casa

Fora de casa: Quatro destinos como proposta – Voz Da Planicie

Semana Gastronómica do Gaspacho e Tomatada

Semana Gastronómica do Gaspacho e Tomatada


O Verão está a chegar, e com as temperaturas a subir a cozinha alentejana refresca-se. De 21 a 27 de Julho nos concelhos de Aljustrel, Alvito, Beja, Castro Verde, Ferreira do Alentejo, Mértola, Moura, Odemira, Ourique, Serpa e Vidigueira, vários restaurantes apresentam o tradicional gaspacho, vinagrada, lavadas, tomatada, sopas de tomate, entre outras receitas.

Cantares alentejanos em Beja

Cantares alentejanos em Beja from Rogério Santos on Vimeo.