Portugal- 4/13- 4/20/2016
Nazaré and Sítio-4/17/2016
Nazaré has been called the most picturesque town in Portugal, and thousands of tourists flock here every summer to paint, film, and photograph the quaint fishing village.
Nazaré is a costal fishing town located on the Atlantic coast, it has long sandy beaches, considered to be among the best beaches in Portugal. The town used to be known for its traditional costumes worn by the fishermen and their wives who wore a traditional headscarf and embroidered aprons over seven flannel skirts in different colors.
The name Nazaré came from Nazareth, Jesus' home town, after two fishermen in the 7th century brought back the statue of the Black Madonna or Black Virgin. The Black Madonna was hidden in nearby rocks throughout the Muslim Moorish rule and was rediscovered during the Christian Reconquista in the 12th century. The Black Madonna is now in the Church of Our Lady of Nazare (you will get to see it later).
We found a parking space very easily on the Avenida Da Republica , the main street facing the beach.
On top of the rocky hills is the town of Síto.
So beautiful it looks like a post card.
We walked to the end of the main street and you can see a closer look at Síto, the town above the beach.
The view is really beautiful and peaceful.
Each time we travel we always try to look for a Sharpei like our dog Rocky. This time we encountered a black Chinese Sharpei. We asked if he was friendly and was told that he does not trust stranger.. sound just like Rocky.
On the right hand side, up on the hill, you can see the funicular (railway going up the hill).
The funicular was built in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel tower, and by the same disciple of Eiffel who built the much loved Elevator de Santa Justa in Lisbon. The current equipment and stations have been modernized. The funicular railway is considered to be one of the better initiatives of the town’s history, allowing the growth and development of the district of Sítio, on top of the hill, as well as providing an easier access to the beach quarter.
Before the funicular railway was built, access was quite difficult as there were only a gravel walking path from Sítio to Nazare town.
This is the off-season so service is very limited and we had to wait at least 45 minutes.
We did not want to wait that long so we opted to drive up to Síto.
Since we could not take the funicular up to Síto, we walked back to our car and will drive up there.
This is facing north toward the harbor.
I can only imagine how busy this place is in the summer but now there are barely any tourists and I like it.
Since we could not ride the funicular we drove up there and it took about a 10/15 minutes.
Sítio was an unknown small fishing harbor
which got its entrance in history in the 12th century, when a noble man hunting
near the cliffs almost felt to death.
A legend was born, starting a new religious devotion, pictured in everything concerning Nazaré. A church was built in the 14th century getting its final look in the 17th.
We are now on at the edge of the buff, below you can see Nazaré and its golden beach stretching all the way to the new harbor.
Nice view of the long sandy half-moon shaped beach.
Sítio at the town’s highest point is without doubt the best viewpoint in the area.
The stone memorial on the belvedere honors Vasco da Gama, who stopped here before leaving Europe for India.
The town of Nazaré below
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré -Church of our Lady of Nazaré
The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (church of our Lady of Nazaré) is an imposing church located on the hilltop of Sítio overlooking Nazaré.
According to the Legend of Nazaré the sheriff of Porto de Mós, Dom Fuas Roupinho, was chasing on horseback a deer up a hilltop on a misty September morning in 1182, when the deer jumped over the edge of the hilltop into the void, his fiery horse was about to follow. Roupinho invoked the intervention of the Madonna, who made the horse turn away through a supernatural effort and saved his life.
Subsequently, a chapel A Ermida da Memoria, was built very near this spot, over a grotto where stood a small statue of a Black Madonna, brought from Nazareth. Near the chapel one can see the imprint of the horseshoe in the rock.
The church was founded in the 14th century and was rebuilt in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Semicircular steps lead to a Baroque portal under two square bell towers. The façade has gallery-like extensions.
When we got inside there was a mass going on so we could not wander around the church.
This is the painting depict the legend of Nazaré and it is on display inside the church.
Roupinho was pursuing a white deer when a sudden sea mist arose and caused him to lose his bearings. Our Lady of Nazaré halted his horse in its tracks, and as the mist cleared, Roupinho discovered that he was on the brink of a cliff, 300 feet above the ocean.
The profusely decorated gilded arch shows the small statue of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré in a lit niche above the main altar, flanked by twisted columns.
The main Square in Sítio
In front of the church are local shops selling souvernirs.
In the middle of the square..
We just got out of the church and we are now in search of a restaurant for lunch...
We asked for help and a gentleman was giving us direction on how to walk to the restaurant....
Next... Lunch at O'Luis