lunedì 1 giugno 2009

Portogallo Tradition King Christ’s Sanctuary: A Monument for Peace

The Santuário do Cristo Rei ( in English Christ, the King Sanctuary) is a landmark for Lisbon and particularly to Almada. It is a Catholic monument on the left bank of Tagus river, overlooking Lisbon, capital of Portugal, on the other bank. It is located in the civil parish of Pragal, in the city of Almada, in District of Setúbal, Lisbon Region. It is a national monument.
It was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after Cardinal Cerejeira, the patriarch of Lisbon, had been impressed by the visit to the Brazilian monument in 1934. The construction of Cristo-Rei was approved on a Portuguese Episcopate conference, held in Fátima on April 20, 1940, as a plea to God to release Portugal from entering World War II.
Therefore, the building of such an amazing monument was to be seen as a tribute to the fact that Portugal had been spared from getting involved in both the Spanish War and the IIWW. The construction started in 1950 and it was fully supported by Catholic donations only. When it was inaugurated on May 17, 1959, Portugal was under a dictatorship and being ruled by the President of the Council António de Oliveira Salazar, whose institutional relations with the Portuguese Catholic Church were tense.
The building
The base of the monument, by architect António Lino, is in the form of a gate, standing 75 m (246 ft) tall. At the top is a statue of Christ the Redeemer, designed by sculptor Francisco Franco de Sousa, 28 m (92 ft)-tall. The monument stands 113 meters above sea level At the base of the statue is an observation deck (altitude: 184 m / 604 ft) providing panoramic views of the city of Lisbon, the Tagus river (in Portuguese: Rio Tejo) and of the 25 de Abril Bridge (in Portuguese: Ponte 25 de Abril). It has become the most popular sightseeing site in Almada.
The building has been recently upgraded. Today the sanctuary has accommodation facilities for groups of pilgrims, conference rooms, canteens, shops and cafeteria. It is usual and fashionable practice to hold wedding or baptismal parties in a tent in the premises.
How to get there
By car (through the 25 de Abril Bridge) , by train (in Pragal station) or by ferry boat (called "Cacilheiro") crossing Tagus river from Cais do Sodré (Lisbon) to the port of Cacilhas, city of Almada, followed by a short bus trip.

Natural sights nearby
If you’re a sea lover, visit the beaches within a few miles: Costa da Caparica, Trafaria, Sesimbra, Tróia Peninsula, Portinho da Arrábida and Cape Espichel., among others. Within a short drive the Castles of Palmela, Sesimbra or if you fancy something green, the Arrábida mountain.

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