Portugal has been in existence for over 8 centuries and has been able to maintain a vibrant and fantastic culture borrowed from the many people that the Portuguese met with over the centuries. The voyages that its sailors took on the ominous seas and oceans resulted in them bringing back a piece of the other worlds which they conquered. One can therefore conclude that among the many cultures that are present in Europe, Portugal’s ranks among the best if not the best. Some of the excellent trends that Portugal brought to the entire world are tiles, manueline art and fado (a form of musical expression) among others.
Understanding Portugal’s history
In order to understand Portugal’s culture you must be able to understand how it came into being. The name Portugal was adapted from one of its cities, Porto. At that time it was just a pre-roman settlement and it was referred to as Portus Cale, which can be loosely translated to ‘the modern city of Porto’. During the 9th century, Christians occupied the area between the Douro River and the Minho River and the area became known as Portucale. Over the years, the area became filled with numerous people from different places, however the Portuguese culture still remained homogenous.
Arts and culture
A major part of Portuguese culture lies in their arts. Part of this culture is the music, visual art and architectural pieces. They have all contributed towards Portugal’s culture in one way or the other. Music refers to Portugal’s folklore music or fado a traditional form of music. Fado (translated to fate), is a slow form of sad music that is sentimental and touching to the soul (usually with a theme of love) if you listen to the lyrics. It is said to have originated from African slave music. Different regions in Portugal have their own type of music but the songs and dances are usually slower when compared to their Spanish counterparts.
In the 12 and 13 centuries, the Portuguese were very good in making sculptures. They are also known for decorating churches, convents and palaces with religious art. Other things that Portugal is also known for are its tiles which were used in decorating the walls of its palaces as well as other ancient buildings.
Portuguese architecture has also been quite exceptional and indicative of the artistic prowess that its builders had. They adopted most of their architectural skills from the Romans and by the 16th century they had adapted their own style as well to this adaptation. As you travel different regions in Portugal you will not fail to see different architectural pieces with different artistic creativity that will blow your mind away. Their architecture is not just displayed in Portugal, places like Mombasa in Kenya also boast of Portuguese architecture “the Vasco da Gama Pillar” which has been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Portugal’s culture is both interesting and artistic to anyone wanting to travel to this scenic place.