Benches with a past

Bench 1In Largo 1 de Dezembro, a busy square near the river front in Portimao, traces of Portuguese history linger.  A series of benches commemorate events from the past.  Some depict the glory years, when Portugal had an empire and her explorers roamed the world. Others, significant turning points, like the foundation of the Portuguese nation, on 5th October, 1143, shown above.

Bench 6Not a peaceful scene to accompany a lunchtime sandwich, this bench commemorates the Battle of Aljubarrota on 14th August, 1385. One of many battles with Spain, here King Joao 1 and his general Nuno Alvares Pereira defeat the Castilians.Bench 5The Portuguese Empire spanned almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415 to the handover of Macau to the People’s Republic of China in 1999- the longest lived of any of the European colonial empires.  The scene above shows the fall of Ceuta in Morocco, on 21st August, 1415.

Bench 3Probably my favourite scene denotes the arrival of the Vasco da Gama in Calicut, India, on 28th May, 1489.  Below we have the discovery of Brazil, on 24th April, 1500.

Bench 2

Brazil provided a safe refuge for the Portuguese monarchy during the Napoleonic Wars but all good things come to an end and Brazil finally achieved independence in 1822.

Circle bench

The October Revolution in 1910 resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy, the expulsion of the Braganca dynasty, and and the founding of a Portuguese Republic.   Still, it makes a pleasant bench to sit a while and contemplate history.

Bench 4I hope you can enjoy a lunchtime linger.  Jude asked for Benches with unusual details this month. The condition and situation of these benches means I’ve had to employ a little artful disguise.

Like many people I thought that the name azulejos (the type of tile shown on these benches) came from the Portuguese word azul, or blue.  The name actually derives from the Arabic al zuleycha.  Just one of many delightful things I discovered while reading the online magazine Enjoy the Algarve.  You might like it too.



      1. Just reading your Day Out 🙂 Waning? Don’t even think it or I shall crawl back under the duvet instantly! A few more breakfasts in the garden still to come, hopefully 🙂


  1. What a fascinating story behind each of the benches Jo and I love the pretty colours – I actually have some hand painted blue Portuguese tiles in a water feature in my garden (which came from a homeware store here in Perth). Our daughter has just returned from Sintra in Portugal singing its praises. She says there were so many lovely castles in the area and the Portuguese history is so interesting. Now definitely on my travel wishlist!


      1. Yes I think I would love it there Jo – Mlle reckons the Portuguese are the European equivalent of Perth people very friendly and laid back plus the history would fascinate me!


  2. These unusual and unique benches fit the bill for Jude’s bench challenge perfectly. Enjoyed the history too…and the soft edges around your photos! Lovely post altogether Jo 🙂


    1. I don’t seem to have posted much on Portugal this year, Sherri. Definitely got a yearning 🙂 I have a lovely little duck that I’m determined to get into a post at some point but other things keep getting in the way 🙂 Thank you very much, darlin’. A weekend with your boys?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Look forward to that Jo when the distractions ease off … do they ever, I ask myself? 😉 My boys were here last weekend, had a wonderful time, miss them but will see them again soon I hope. Meeting up with friends for a meal tonight and then see what the weekend brings. Have a lovely weekend whatever you do Jo, and hugs to you lovely lady 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting to have such fascinating world history so artfully depicted on beautiful benches. You do find such interesting features wherever you travel, Jo!


    1. I was surprised to find so little online about these, Debbie. I’d have liked to know who designed them, but I suppose Portugal is so full of interesting features, it would take a big book! 🙂 Thanks for your company, hon.


  4. Portugal is amazing–a small country with such an illustrious past. The benches are lovely. I like the restful blue and white with its bright yellow trim. My favorite bench is the same as yours: the arrival of the Vasco da Gama in Calicut, India. The composition is so graceful.


  5. Now that is some serious detail for Jude’s challenge! Yea too bad about the deterioration but alas countries only have so much money to deal with preserving history.


  6. A most interesting read,, Jo. I also thought the same as you about the ‘azul’ for blue. Just shows that we can both be wrong at times. 😉 Love the way you’ve portrayed the lovely tiled benches. They don’t look very comfy, but then, most benches aren’t.


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