The first photographs in the slideshow are of Aljezur. Aljezur, now inland, was a major port in the 15th century “before the river silted up.” [Rough Guide to Portugal] It is also the “crossover point of two major long-distance walking trails, the Via Algarviana” and the Rota Vicentina (Historical Way). [Rough Guide]
Henry the Navigator, whom we first encountered in Belém on the prow of Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), is here as well, with two sculptures and an accompanying plaque commemorating the 550th anniversary of his death. The Castle of Aljezur also sported a historical plaque, dated 1940, the same year as the Portuguese World Exhibition in Belém. What connection there might be, if any, I wasn’t able to discern. I’d be surprised, though, if restoration of the castle walls in 1940-41 wasn’t related to overall restoration work under the Salazar regime to offer “physical proof of the regime’s commitment to restoring the values of a national past in order to spearhead a ressurgimento nacional.” [citation]
But rather than giving the last word to Salazar, let’s see what Fernando Pessoa has to say:
God wills, man dreams, the work is born.
God willed that all the earth be one,
That the sea unite rather than divide it.
Anointed by Him, you unveiled the foam,
And the white crest went from island to continent,
A path of light to the world’s end,
And all at once the entire earth
Appeared, round, from out of the blue.
The One who anointed you made you Portuguese,
A sign to us of our pact with the sea.
The Sea was won, the Empire undone.
Lord, we still must win Portugal!
From Message, Fernando Pessoa, tr. Richard Zenith, p. 81.
The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine. For Impressions of Portugal, Rota Vicentina (1), click here.