List of World Heritage Sites in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.[1] Portugal adopted the convention on 30 September 1980, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.[2]

Sites in Portugal were first inscribed on the list at the 7th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Florence, Italy, in 1983. Four sites were added: the "Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo in the Azores", the "Monastery of Batalha", the "Convent of Christ in Tomar", and the joint inscription of the "Monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belém in Lisbon".[3] As of 2013, Portugal has 15 sites inscribed on the list, 14 of which are cultural and one is natural, according to the selection criteria. Three sites are located in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, while one is shared with Spain.[2] The most recent inscription is the University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia site in Coimbra, during the 37th Session in Phnom Penh.[4]

List of sites

Inscribed sites

Name Image Location Period UNESCO data Description Ref
Alto Douro Wine Region A river with terraced vineyards Douro Region
41°6′6″N 7°47′56″W / 41.10167°N 7.79889°W / 41.10167; -7.79889 (Alto Douro Wine Region)
N/A 1046; 2001; iii, iv, v; 24,600 ha (225,400 ha)
Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.
Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores Coastal town with white houses and churches with red roofs Terceira Island, Azores
38°39′18″N 27°13′12″W / 38.65500°N 27.22000°W / 38.65500; -27.22000 (Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores)
15th century 206; 1983; iv, vi
Situated on one of the islands in the Azores archipelago, this was an obligatory port of call from the 15th century until the advent of the steamship in the 19th century. The 400-year-old San Sebastião and San João Baptista fortifications are unique examples of military architecture. Damaged by an earthquake in 1980, Angra is now being restored.
Convent of Christ in Tomar Christian religious building with a bell Tomar
39°36′17″N 8°25′3″W / 39.60472°N 8.41750°W / 39.60472; -8.41750 (Convent of Christ in Tomar)
12th to 15th centuries 265; 1983; i, vi
Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize just the opposite during the Manueline period – the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations.
Cultural Landscape of Sintra Buildings with red roofs on a hillside Sintra
38°47′0″N 9°25′0″W / 38.78333°N 9.41667°W / 38.78333; -9.41667 (Cultural Landscape of Sintra)
19th century 723; 1995; ii, iv, v; 946 ha (3,641 ha)
In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra , created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.
Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications Ramparts of Elvas Elvas
38°52′50″N 7°9′48″W / 38.88056°N 7.16333°W / 38.88056; -7.16333 (Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications)
17th to 19th centuries 1367; 2012; iv; 179 ha (608 ha)
The site, extensively fortified from the 17th to 19th centuries, represents the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century ad, its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The fortifications designed by Dutch Jesuit padre Cosmander represent the best surviving example of the Dutch school of fortifications anywhere. The site also contains the Amoreira Aqueduct, built to enable the stronghold to withstand lengthy sieges.
Historic Centre of Évora Ruins of a classical columned temple Évora
38°34′23″N 7°54′28″W / 38.57306°N 7.90778°W / 38.57306; -7.90778 (Historic Centre of Évora)
1st to 18th centuries 361; 1986; ii, iv
This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its unique quality stems from the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.
Historic Centre of Guimarães A square palace complex with white walls and many chimneys Guimarães, Minho Province
41°26′27″N 8°17′41″W / 41.44083°N 8.29472°W / 41.44083; -8.29472 (Historic Centre of Guimarães)
12th to 19th centuries 1031; 2001; ii, iii, iv; 16 ha (45 ha)
The historic town of Guimarães is associated with the emergence of the Portuguese national identity in the 12th century. An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques.
Historic Centre of Oporto Metal bridge across a river and city centre built on a hillside Porto
41°8′30″N 8°37′0″W / 41.14167°N 8.61667°W / 41.14167; -8.61667 (Historic Centre of Oporto)
8th to 19th centuries 755; 1996; iv
The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara.
Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture Vineyards with low walls built of boulders and the sea in the distance Pico Island, Azores
38°30′48″N 28°32′28″W / 38.51333°N 28.54111°W / 38.51333; -28.54111 (Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture)
15th century 1117; 2004; iii, v; 190 ha (2,445 ha)
The 987-ha site on the volcanic island of Pico, the second largest in the Azores archipelago, consists of a remarkable pattern of spaced-out, long linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky shore. The walls were built to protect the thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots (currais) from wind and seawater. Evidence of this viniculture, whose origins date back to the 15th century, is manifest in the extraordinary assembly of the fields, in houses and early 19th-century manor houses, in wine-cellars, churches and ports. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of the site is the best remaining area of a once much more widespread practice.
Laurisilva of Madeira A foggy picture of the top of a very dense forest Madeira
32°46′0″N 17°0′0″W / 32.76667°N 17.00000°W / 32.76667; -17.00000 (Laurisilva of Madeira)
N/A 934; 1999; ix, x; 15,000 ha
The Laurisilva of Madeira is an outstanding relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest and is believed to be 90% primary forest. It contains a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the Madeiran long-toed pigeon.
Monastery of Alcobaça Church facade integrated into a complex of white buildings with red roofs Alcobaça
39°33′0″N 8°58′36″W / 39.55000°N 8.97667°W / 39.55000; -8.97667 (Monastery of Alcobaça)
12th to 18th centuries 505; 1989; i, iv
The Monastery of Santa Maria d'Alcobaça, north of Lisbon, was founded in the 12th century by King Alfonso I. Its size, the purity of its architectural style, the beauty of the materials and the care with which it was built make this a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.
Monastery of Batalha Gothic church Batalha
39°39′28″N 8°49′37″W / 39.65778°N 8.82694°W / 39.65778; -8.82694 (Monastery of Batalha)
14th century 264; 1983; i, ii; 0.98 ha (86 ha)
The Monastery of the Dominicans of Batalha was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It was to be the Portuguese monarchy's main building project for the next two centuries. Here a highly original, national Gothic style evolved, profoundly influenced by Manueline art, as demonstrated by its masterpiece, the Royal Cloister.
Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon
White tower near the sea
38°41′31″N 9°12′57″W / 38.69194°N 9.21583°W / 38.69194; -9.21583 (Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon)
16th to 17th centuries 263; 1983, 2008 (extended);[nb 2] iii, iv; 2.66 ha (103 ha)
Standing at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, the Monastery of the Hieronymites – construction of which began in 1502 – exemplifies Portuguese art at its best. The nearby Tower of Belém, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's expedition, is a reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world.
Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde Rock carvings of animals including a horse Douro Region (shared with Spain)
40°41′51″N 6°39′40″W / 40.69750°N 6.66111°W / 40.69750; -6.66111 (Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde)
Paleolithic 866; 1998, 2010 (extended);[nb 3] i, iii
The two Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley (Portugal) and Siega Verde (Spain) are located on the banks of the rivers Agueda and Côa, tributaries of the river Douro, documenting continuous human occupation from the end of the Paleolithic Age. Hundreds of panels with thousands of animal figures (5,000 in Foz Côa and around 440 in Siega Verde) were carved over several millennia, representing the most remarkable open-air ensemble of Paleolithic art on the Iberian Peninsula.
University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia Coimbra
40°12′28.12″N 8°25′32.79″W / 40.2078111°N 8.4257750°W / 40.2078111; -8.4257750 (University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia)
12th to 20th centuries 1387; 2013; ii, iii, iv, vi; 36 ha (82 ha)
Situated on a hill overlooking the city, the University of Coimbra with its colleges grew and evolved over more than seven centuries within the old town. (...) The University's edifices became a reference in the development of other institutions of higher education in the Portuguese-speaking world where it also exerted a major influence on learning and literature. Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages.

Tentative list

In addition to sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage list are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[20] As of 2013, Portugal recorded 11 sites on its tentative list.[2]

Name Image Location Period UNESCO data Description Ref
Historic Centre of Santarém Santarém
39°14′12.27″N 8°41′8.91″W / 39.2367417°N 8.6858083°W / 39.2367417; -8.6858083 (Historic Centre of Santarém)
N/A 562; 1996; mixed [21]
Algar do Carvão Terceira Island, Azores
38°43′44″N 27°11′7″W / 38.72889°N 27.18528°W / 38.72889; -27.18528 (Algar do Carvão)
N/A 565; 1996; natural
Algar do Corvao [sic] is situated a strombolian volcano with two cones (a principal and an accidental one) and is 629 m high. It is composed by a vertical chimney of 45m high and it becomes obliquely wider in its end, with three arched roofs. It ends with 90m in a potable lagoon whose average surface is 400m2 . In its deeper part it is 15m. The walls allow the water infiltration which gives origin to white silica stalagtites [sic] and stalagmites. It is also important to refer the existence of black obsidian "volcanic vitrious glaze" (glass). The plant communities of the volcanic chimney has a great diversity of species which are mostly endemic, some are rare and threatened and are included in the Appendix I from the Berna Convention. Others are included in the IUCN Bryophyte Red List.
Furna do Enxofre Graciosa Island, Azores N/A 566; 1996; natural
It's a huge cave located in the only caldera of the island, whose origin is related to the collapse phase and drainage of a lava lake in the interior of the caldera. It is formed by an unique and huge dome that shows the existence of basaltic prisms. Its maximum altitude is 100m and its diameter is 150m. In the bottom of the cave a big lagoon can be seen. There is a permanent fumarolic activity which exhales the CO², H²S, H² gases. There are two holes in this cave that allow the entrance of the sun light.
Town of Marvão and the craggy mountain on which it is located Marvão
39°23′39″N 7°22′36″W / 39.39417°N 7.37667°W / 39.39417; -7.37667 (Marvão)
N/A 1428; 2000; (iv), (v)
The asset which is applying for World Heritage status is a unique symbiosis of cultural and natural features. It is not a historical centre, in other words, it is not an ancient urban founding quarter surrounded in the meantime by urban development. Rather, it is the whole town which is historical, with its unusual archaic architecture and urban features, and which, encompassed by its gigantic rocky fortifications, has never spread outwards, except during the 15th Century, which saw the building of the Nossa Senhora da Estrela Convent, also included in the application. In addition to the town, the application would also of necessity have to include the craggy mountain on which it is located, at an average altitude of 600 m (...)
Ilhas Selvagens (Selvagens Islands) Funchal, Madeira
30°5′43.9″N 15°56′45.7″W / 30.095528°N 15.946028°W / 30.095528; -15.946028 (Savage Islands)
N/A 1742; 2002; (x)
The Selvagens, comprised by Selvagens Grande, Selvagem Pequena and Ilhéu de Fora were discovered by the Portuguese in the XV century (1438) and remained practically unhurt by all attempts to colonize it, and they remained inhospitable and uninhabited up to the present time. (...)
The Southwest Coast Alentejo and Algarve
37°27′0″N 8°46′0″W / 37.45000°N 8.76667°W / 37.45000; -8.76667 (Southwest Coast)
N/A 1979; 2004; (viii), (ix), (x)
Owing to its geographical position, its landscape diversity and limited human occupation, the Southwest Coast, an interfacial zone between the land and the sea, has developed its own specific features and a variety of habitats which are responsible for the wealth of its flora and fauna. It is one of the last and most important stretches of wild coastline in the South of Europe, with great extensions remaining almost unaltered by human activities and building, and benefiting from an extremely low demographic density, albeit with increasing anthropic pressure, which, for the time being, is limited in time and space. (...)
Pombaline Baixa or Downtown of Lisbon Lisbon
38°42′41″N 9°8′14″W / 38.71139°N 9.13722°W / 38.71139; -9.13722 (Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon)
18th century 1980; 2004; (i), (ii), (iv), (v), (vi)
(...) As a result of the destruction of the greater part of the city, including the symbolic centres of power, by the 1755 earthquake, - the most violent registered in history, and a catastrophe which, at the time, became the subject of literary and philosophical works - a complex reconstruction scheme was imposed by the commanding figure of the Marqugs [sic] de Pombal. Confronted by the different alternatives, it was decided to rebuild part of the city from scratch, on the basis of a strict legislative programme and a series of practical principles and methods inspired by Portuguese military engineering experience and urban experiments in the colonial territories. (...)
Mafra Palace, Convent and Royal Hunting Park Mafra
38°56′12″N 9°19′35″W / 38.93667°N 9.32639°W / 38.93667; -9.32639 (Mafra Palace)
18th century 1981; 2004; (i), (ii), (iv)
(...) The building has an imposing monumental presence, which is the fruit of its outstanding architectural design, particularly of the central part, the Basilica, and a discerning choice of materials and decorative features, which provided it with an almost unique splendour in the Europe of its day: polychromatic marbles from different origins; the remarkable group of sculptures in the porch of the Church - the greatest of its kind in the world, with 58 marble statues commissioned from the leading Roman sculptors of their time ; the two carillons, each with 48 bells, from Antwerp; the unique grouping of six organs, with their own repertoire, designed and built for the same space, between 1792 and 1807; the Royal Hunting Park, a vast, walled enclosure with a 21 km perimeter, surrounding agricultural land and forest, which today is an important genetic reserve boasting a biogenetic diversity and range of species that are the fruit of the considerable amount of work which has been invested in its management. (...)
Forest Park of the Discalced Carmelites, Buçaco Forest Buçaco
40°21′0″N 8°21′0″W / 40.35000°N 8.35000°W / 40.35000; -8.35000 (Forest Park of the Discalced Carmelites, Buçaco)
17th century 1984; 2004; mixed
Measuring 1450m by 950m, the National Forest is surrounded by a wall with several gates scattered around the perimeter, providing access to the leafy woods which surround the church, part of a Carmelite convent, a monumental palace, and several other buildings of a religious nature. Bucaco's cultural landscape predates this, the only "wilderness" of its kind in Portugal, which was created by the Order of Discalced Carrnelites between 1628 and 1630. (...)
Arrábida Setúbal District
35°30′7.2″N 8°59′27.6″W / 35.502000°N 8.991000°W / 35.502000; -8.991000 (Arrábida Natural Park)
Paleolithic 1985; 2004; (vii), (viii), (ix), (x)
(...) Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the slopes of the Arrabida Chain are covered with the most characteristic vegetation of the region - Mediterranean maquis – a product of its particular mild climate, tempered by the Atlantic, and the relief. It is one of the most beautiful and fascinating natural regions of Mediterranean influence, and remains almost untouched in its natural equilibrium. (...)
Icnitos de Dinossáurios Ourém and Sesimbra Upper and Middle Jurassic 5255; 2008; (vii), (viii)
Galinha and Vale de Meios tracksites are the largest Middle Jurassic tracksites with exceptionally well preserved dinosaur trackways which yielded ample and uncommon paleobiological and paleoecological information in an early time of its evolution. (...) Pedra da Mua tracksite reveals Upper Jurassic sauropod (herbivorous and quadrupedal) as well as theropod (carnivorous and bipedal) trackways. (...)


See also

Notes and references

  1. Criteria i–vi are cultural and criteria vii–x are natural
  2. Extension of the buffer zone of the Tower of Belém in 2008.
  3. In 2010, it was extended to include 645 engravings in the archaeological zone of Siega Verde in Spain.
  4. Group of islets located halfway between Madeira and Canary Islands.
  5. Comprises the coastline stretching from São Torpes, in Alentejo, to Burgau, in the Algarve.
  1. "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Portugal – Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List". UNESCO. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  3. "Report of the rapporteur" (PDF). UNESCO. January 1984. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. "Qatar and Fiji get their first World Heritage sites as World Heritage Committee makes six additions to UNESCO List". UNESCO. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  5. "Alto Douro Wine Region". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  6. "Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  7. "Convent of Christ in Tomar". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  8. "Cultural Landscape of Sintra". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  9. "Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  10. "Historic Centre of Évora". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  11. "Historic Centre of Guimarães". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  12. "Historic Centre of Oporto". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  13. "Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  14. "Laurisilva of Madeira". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  15. "Monastery of Alcobaça". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  16. "Monastery of Batalha". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  17. "Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  18. "Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  19. "University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  20. "Tentative Lists". UNESCO. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  21. "Historic Centre of Santarém". UNESCO. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  22. "Algar do Carvão". UNESCO. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  23. "Furna do Enxofre". UNESCO. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  24. "Town of Marvão and the craggy mountain on which it is located". UNESCO. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  25. "Ilhas Selvagens (Selvagens Islands)". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  26. "The Southwest Coast". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  27. "Pombaline Baixa or Downtown of Lisbon". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  28. "Mafra Palace, Convent and Royal Hunting Park". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  29. "Forest Park of the Discalced Carmelites, Buçaco". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  30. "Arrábida". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  31. "Icnitos de Dinossáurios". UNESCO. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
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