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Museums, monuments, buildings and places of historical interest, archaeological remains that are open to the public, ancient churches and monasteries are all to be found on the Costa Azul and in the Setúbal area. This wide range of interesting places couples both a useful lesson in regional and local history with the pleasant contact of visiting historically rich monuments from the past. At a glance the historical and artistic value of the area can be taken in, all you need to do is choose the itinerary you feel most apt to suit your interest and not forgetting the recreational side, visit what this lovely area of Portugal has to offer.


Museu do Convento de Jesus, SetubalMuseums are not just huge ancient relics reminding us of man's past presence but also privileged reminders of who we once were, who we now are and the image we wish to project for the future. Worthy of the cultural policy they have been given by town councils, the varied type of museums that we have to offer to both resident and foreign visitors is rich and diverse in scope. It provides an ample vision of natural and cultural heritage on a local scale. From art galleries to natural reserves, archaeological remains to the history of employment, a world full of details awaits you...

If your interest is in an museums, the Museu do Convento de Jesus in Setúbal is a must to visit. Valuable collections of national and foreign paintings, sculpture, jewellery and tiles dating from the fifteenth century to the present day may be viewed as well as periodical exhibitions of contemporary art. The gallery of visual art housed in the Casa de Bocage in Setúbal and the Galeria Municipal in Almada are other places open to the public where contemporary art is highlighted throughout the year.

SinesIf you are more interested in archaeology, your visit also starts in Setúbal where man's past is beautifully displayed with plenty of relics in the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnografia do Distrito de Setúbal right from the remote past. Other valuable archaeological museums can be found in Sesimbra (Museu Municipal), Alcácer (Museu Municipal) and in Sines (Museu Arqueológico Municipal), where artifacts of national and regional importance are displayed. There are also nuclei of considerable importance in the Municipal Museums of Santiago do Cacém, Alcochete and Almada (this last one is still in the organisational phase).

Museu de Santiago de Cacém In our days, the increasing interest shown in ecology and preservation of the environment has meant that different types of museum have been founded for example eco-museums or natural parks, ethnographic and museums focusing on the History of Society. In this vein, the Eco-Museu Municipal do Seixal was founded with its several nuclei allowing its visitors to visit for example, a water mill (Corroios) or the construction of traditional sailing vessels (Núcleo Naval, Arrentela). The rich collection of ethnographical and archaeological items have made it possible for the Museu doTrabalho de Setúbal, to present varied themes connected towork. There is special emphasis on the canning industry, which has been of extreme importance in this area in the last 140 years. Other Municipal Museums, such as the one in Alcochete (important for its recently inaugurated salt exposé) and in Santiago do Cacém where the richness of its ethnography is displayed in an unusual fashion. In Sines, the Museu de Hisiória Natural, with its rare specimens of fauna both local and from Northern Europe awaits your visit. A visit to Barreiro presents you with a lesson in historical and industrial archaeology. The history of the workers rights movement can be traced by visits to factories in the north of the Costa Azul area which is still awaiting its museum facilities.


PalmelaThe rich archaeological past is not only to be found in the material displayed in the various museums. It is also found in inumerous archaeological digs scattered over the region. Some of interest to the general public, others of a more specific nature and some are still being investigated, covering a chronological arc from the Neolithic period to the end of the Roman occupation and the era of the Discoveries.

In the Quinta do Anjo, Palmela, 'grutas funerárias da Quinta do Anjo' date back to the Neolithic age. The Chaolitic era is represented in the stations in Monte da Caparica (Almada), Monte da Tumba (Alcácer do Sal) Padrão and Castro da Rotura (both in Setúbal) where the relics are displayed in the local museums. Reference is made to a prolonged occupation which dates from the Iron Age to the Roman era in Alcácer and Setúbal..

MiróbrigaThe Roman colonization left important remains from the Porto dos Cacos (Alcochete) Remnants of their occupation on an industrial level can be found in the Baixo Sado area (salt fish factories and pottery factories). Sanctuaries, thermal springs and a hippodrome (Miróbriga).
The places which can be visited are in Setúbal (the ground floor of the Tourism Office of the Costa Azul), in Tróia and in the above-mentioned Miróbriga station. Remains from before the VI Century A.D. are rare and are nearly all on display in the various museums. In Palmela, excavations are in progress on ovens used for biscuit making in the XV and XVI centuries.


Castelo de SesimbraThe monuments to be found on the Costa Azul trace the History of Architecture and Art in almost all sector from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The medieval castles in Palmela, Sesimbra, Alcácer, although restored or remodelled in the more recent past, take the visitor back in time to the XIII and the XIX centuries when the Ordem do Santiago was in power. The XIV century city walls of Setúbal were erected at great cost by the population. Significant fragmented remains trace a chain of walls around this important urban area of the Middle Ages. The medieval tower in Outão can be clearly distinguished as a relic from the year six hundred. The tower Torre Velha in Almada is, however, not in such good condition. From the time of King Filipe and the Restauration, we have several gems of military architectural importance. The Sáo Filipe fortress from the end of the XVI century which is in excellent condition; the chain of city walls from the six hundreds surrounding the old fort which unfortunately no longer stands - both in Setúbal.

Town Hall, PalmelaOther architecture from the XVI and XVIII centuries comprises the renaissance palaces of Bacalhoa and the Quinta das Torres in Azeitão and the palace belonging to the Duques de Aveiro in the same town. Other palaces and manor houses are scattered about among the villages of the area. Santiago do Cacém in the south also boasts a host of palaces and manor houses, as does the historical centre of Setúbal with its beautiful Cosa do Corpo Santo, former Costa Azul Tourism Office, lovely barroque construction with adjacent chapel, not forgetting the palace Paços do Concelho de Palmela which date from the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Religious architecture is more numerous and plays a significant role in what was constructed in the centuries before 1800 the late gothic of the lovely Santiago Church in Palmela, the church Matriz de Alcochete, the church Matriz de Santiago do Cacém, or the chapel Capela dos Cazal incorporated in the Matriz da Moira are all typical examples of this. In the church Matriz de Santiago one can contemplate embossed work from the Gothic period; the Santiago Matamouros which was donated by Queen Isabel's lady in waiting, the Princess Vataça. In Moita, one can visit the only surviving gothic tomb with adjacent statue - the one of Fernão do Cazal who was a hero in the Battle of Toro.

Convento de Jesus, SetúbalThe Manueline era is notably well represented in the Igreja e Convento de Jesus in Setúbal, the Matriz in Torrão and in the church doors of S Julião and the Convento de S. Joâo in Setúbal. Also in ihe chapel Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Salvas in Sines (Alentejo) which was built under orders from the distinguished navigator Vasco de Gama who was born there. Portals and windows from this period can be found all over the area in small numbers.

The finest examples of classic Renaissance style are found in Alcácer do Sal (Capela das Onz Mil Virgens situated in the convent of Santo António), in Palmela (Igreja de São Pedro), in Setúbal (Catedral de Santa Marta da Graça) in Montijo (Matriz) and in Alcochete (Igrejas de Nosso Senhora da Vida and da Misericordia). If you enjoy ancient art out of the museum environment, a visit to Sesimbra, to the Sala de Arte Sacra da Misencordia de Sesimbra is in order where an exceptionally beautiful panel by Gregório Lopes can be found. Ancient art can also be viewed in Santa Suzana near Alcácer or the Barroque sanctuary in Cabo Espichel, also the Misrincoria de Alcochete soon to be incorporated into the Confraria church museum.

Convento, ArrabidaFine Barroque art awaits you in this region with the magnificent tiles and engravings found in the churches in Sesimbra, Alcochete, Alcácer and especially in Setúbal and Azeitão. The chapels found in the Fortalezas S Fillpe and Outão and the churches of S. Simão and S. Lourenço in Azeitão, and S. João, da Conceiçáo and da Graça in Setúbal are worthy of note. A particularly interesting centre is composed of convents from the Capuchos which can be found all over the Setúbal peninsula (Caparica, Verderena, Alferrara, Arrábida). As this is a region with good harbours, many people from this area were involved in the expansion overseas and returned from the East with ivory statues: the most remarkable being the ones in the Ermida do Senhor dos Navegantes in Montijo.

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Costa Azul