portugal

Checking in from a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic. I’m still in Portugal, but I’m closer to Africa than anything else. This morning we got up very early to race up a mountain and watch the sun rise above the clouds. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I almost wept.

Tomorrow is my last day in Portugal and then off to England for the last leg of my trip. Less than two weeks left. It’s gone by slowly and quickly all at once. I miss a lot about being home, but I’m also trying so hard to be present in these beautiful, fleeting moments. I know I will never have these things again and I want to hold tightly to them while I do.

The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle, located on a small islet in the middle of the Tagus River, in the civil parish of Praia do Ribatejo, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the municipal seat of Vila Nova da Barquinha, in the Portuguese Centre Region. The castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar, and a stronghold used during the Portuguese Reconquista.

It is believed that the castle was constructed on the site of a primitive Lusitanian castro that was later conquered by the Romans during the 1st century B.C.E.[1] It was later remodelled by successive invading forces, including the Alans, Visigoths and Moors, although it is unclear when the actual castle was established.[1] In excavations carried out in the interior and exterior enclosures, various vestiges of Roman occupation were discovered, that included coins, millennium markers and Roman foundations, while medieval remnants such as medallions and two marble columns were also discovered in the castle’s vicinity.

The castle of Almourol is one of the more emblematic and cenographic medieval military monuments of the Reconquista, and best representation of the influence of the Knights Templar in Portugal.[1] When it was conquered in 1129, by forces loyal to the Portuguese nobility, it was then known as Almorolan, and placed in the trust of Gualdim Pais, the master of the Knights Templar in Portugal, who rebuilt the structure.[1][2] The structure was reconstructed, starting in 1171 (from an inscription over the principal gate) and restored during the subsequent reigns.
Losing its strategic place, it was abandoned resulting in its fall into ruins. In the 19th century, it was “reinvented” by idealistic romantics, which eventually led to interventions in the 1940s and 1950s, and its adaption as Official Residence of the Portuguese Republic.[1][2] During this period, restorations had proceeded, transforming the physical appearance of the structure, including the addition of crenellations and bartizans.[1]

The DGMEN - Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (Directorate-General of Buildings and National Monuments), the forerunner of the IGESPAR first intervened on the site in 1939, through the construction of the chemin de ronde in masonry, including reinforced concrete; desmantlement and reconstruction of the corner of the keep; repair and consolidation of the battlements, including the demolition of the tower’s allure, reconstruction of a brick vault under the existing; and reconstruction of the pavement in small stone.

Around 1940-1950, the spaces were adapted for its use as an official residence of the Portuguese Republic.[1][2] At the end of this short term, the building’s furniture was acquired by the Commission for Furniture Acquisition (Portuguese: Comissão para a Aquisição de Mobiliário) in 1955, while an electrical grid was installed.[2]

More in :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Almourol

Iceland is officially the #1 most peaceful country on Earth. According to the Global Peace Index’s 2016 report of 163 surveyed countries, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia also land in the top 10, while the United States ranks 103rd. Source Source 2