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Quinta das Lágrimas

Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas

Situated on the left bank of the Mondego River in Coimbra is Quinta das Lágrimas (‘Estate of Tears’), a luxury hotel set in delightful grounds. The gardens, which have recently been restored, are open to the public.

The origin of the estate is uncertain, but we know that it was originally a hunting ground for the Portuguese royal family. In the 14th century it became associated with the tragic love story of Don Pedro and Inês de Castro. Inês, a Spanish noblewoman, is said to have been murdered here on the orders of King Afonso IV of Portugal, Pedro’s father. The property benefited later on from close associations with the Botanical Gardens of Coimbra University, whose director was a friend of the owner of the Quinta; they used to exchange species. As a result of this relationship, Quinta das Lágrimas is essentially a botanical garden in itself, featuring rare and exotic trees from all over the world – including a couple of sequoias planted by the Duke of Wellington nearly two centuries ago. Most of the trees at the Quinta were planted in the first part of the 19th century.

The Quinta das Lágrimas hotel is owned by a well known Portuguese lawyer, who financed the restoration of the garden himself. It was designed by landscape architect Cristina Castel-Branco. This was the first medieval garden to be totally rebuilt in Portugal, inspired by illuminated manuscripts, tapestries and the literature of the day. The project was conceived by architect Cristina Castel-Branco, who says it is the first in Portugal to meet the requirements of UNESCO’s International Council on Monuments and Sites, which works for the preservation and study of parks, gardens and historical sites.

In selecting plants for the medieval garden, the restoration team restricted itself to fifty species that were used in the Middle Ages – that is, before the great Portuguese explorers embarked on their Discoveries and brought back all the exotic species that are familiar to us now. The garden has been planted with various medicinal and other plants that were known to have been used in monastery gardens of the day.

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