Last updated: 09/22/2022
Discover Quinta das Lágrimas, in Coimbra, one of the tragic places in the history of Portugal, stage of the dramatic love story between Inês de Castro and Pedro I.
THE STORY BEHIND QUINTA DAS LÁGRIMAS
Quinta das Lágrimas is a historic place that is related to the end of a love story of a couple that would be the Portuguese version of “Romeo and Juliet”. It is the love relationship between Inês de Castro it's the future King Pedro I of Portugal which in addition to love, involves politics, tragedy and legends. For this reason, it is impossible to talk about what to visit in the place, before explaining why it has become important for the history of Portugal.
>> THE ROMANCE OF PEDRO AND Inês
Inês de Castro was a Galician noblewoman born around 1320. Pedro, in turn, was an infant, son of King Afonso IV, also born on the same date. In 1339, Pedro married D. Constança Manuel, in the Cathedral of Lisbon. However, the future king ended up falling in love with one of his wife's ladies-in-waiting, young Inês. The romance began to be frowned upon by the court, who feared that the young woman, of Castilian descent, could be a negative influence on the kingdom. Despite much opposition, the young couple continued to meet on the sly.
In 1344, King Afonso IV had Inês exiled to the Castle of Albuquerque (on the Castilian border, now Spain) where she had been raised by her aunt. However, the distance did not extinguish the flame between the lovers, who continued to keep in touch. The following year, Pedro's wife, D. Constança, died in childbirth of the future King D. Fernando I. Pedro, a widower, ignored his father's objections and ordered his beloved's return to Portugal, causing a scandal in the court. His father, King Afonso IV, tried to arrange another marriage for his son, which he rejected. However, he went on to have several illegitimate children with Inês. Afraid that one of the bastards would become king of Portugal in the future and with rumors that there were plans to kill Pedro's only legitimate son, the king decided to take drastic action to put an end to the dilemma.
>> THE DEATH OF INESE DE CASTRO
Pedro and Inês were residing in the Paço de Santa Clara in the city of Coimbra. Known today as Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha, the place was built by D. Pedro's grandmother, Queen Santa Isabel, with the desire that the building was inhabited exclusively by kings, their legitimate wives and their descendants. Afraid that Pedro would marry Inês and this would become a political problem, King Afonso VI gave the order for her to be executed.
Inês was murdered on January 7, 1355, probably in the Paço de Santa Clara, although legend says that it was in the Quinta das Lágrimas Gardens, by the daggers of three nobles. Also according to legend, the tears of Inês shed in the Mondego River (which runs through Coimbra) would have created the Fonte das Lágrimas in Quinta das Lágrimas and that, even, the reddish algae that exist there would be the blood shed at the moment of her death.
>> PETER'S REVOLT
After the execution of his beloved by order of D. Afonso VI, Pedro revolted against his father, who ended up dying two years later. In 1357, D. Pedro I was crowned king of Portugal and revealed that he had married Inês in secret, in 1354. In 1360, with the Declaration of Cantanhede, the four children of both were legitimized. Peter also ordered the construction of a special tomb for his beloved in the Alcobaça Monastery for his remains to rest there.
One of the legends that emerged years later, probably in the 16th century, is that Pedro had his late wife unearthed and forced the court to kiss the hand of her corpse, crowning his beloved posthumous queen of Portugal. Because of this tragic end of the novel, a phrase became popular: “Pedro, now Inês is dead!”. D. Pedro I did not remarry and died twelve years after his beloved, in 1367. His tomb is right in front of Inês, on the opposite side of the nave of the Church of the Monastery of Alcobaça.
THE FIFTH OF TEARS
Located on the opposite side of the historic center of Coimbra, across the Mondego River, Quinta das Lágrimas is a property of about 18 hectares where an old 19th century palace is located. “Quinta” is the way a rural property is called in Portugal, which consists of a type of farm that includes a dwelling. Initially, the place was known as Quinta do Pombal and was a hunting area for the Portuguese royal family. Later, he belonged to a religious order.
>> THE PALACE OF QUINTA DAS LÁGRIMAS
In 1730, the farm was acquired by the Osório Cabral de Castro family, who decided to build a palace on the land. However, in 1879, a fire destroyed much of the building, which was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century in a very different style from the original with a library and a chapel. The building has a central body and two sides. The side bodies have a balcony with square columns on the facade.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the farmhouse and palace underwent an extensive restoration project. In 1995, the luxurious Hotel Quinta das Lágrimas was opened in the building of the former palace, which has pool, golf course, spa it's two restaurants, one of them being the arcades, with a Michelin star.
>> THE GARDEN OF QUINTA DAS LÁGRIMAS
Around the 1850s, a romantic garden was built with ponds and exotic plants from around the world. Subsequently, an arched door and a neo-Gothic window, which give access to the Quinta's woods, were built, next to the entrance to the mine built at the request of Queen Santa Isabel.
In 2006, it was time to restore the gardens, which have more than 50 species of plants, recreating a medieval garden. Restorations were carried out on the walls and on the canals where the “Fountain of Love” (tribute to the love of Inês and Pedro) and the “Fountain of Tears” (Homage to the tears shed by Inês when she was killed).
In addition, trees were planted, a sequoia alley, the Colina de Camões Amphitheater, two lakes (Lake Bambuzal and Lago do Anfiteatro) were built and a Japanese garden was even created (inside the hotel).
Although the hotel may only be known to those staying, the gardens are open to visitors. Just buy the ticket at the ticket office on the street behind the hotel. At the entrance, you will receive a leaflet with a map about the main attractions of the gardens.
>> THE INES DE CASTRO FOUNDATION
The gardens are maintained by Inês de Castro Foundation (headquartered at Quinta das Lágrimas and installed at Galeria Inês de Castro), which houses a Documentation Center and a Museum Space. The space was created in 2005, and, in 2014, an Integrated Information System was created by the Inês de Castro Foundation. At the end of 2021, the space has been renovated to accommodate the Donation Professor Maria Leonor Machado de Sousa, who was the greatest scientific authority on the subject.
- Address: R. José Vilarinho Raposo 1, 3040-382 Coimbra, Portugal (box office)
- mid-March to mid-October: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm | closed on mondays
- mid-October to mid-March: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm | closed on mondays
- Entrance: €2.50 | €1 (under 15 and over 65) | 5€ (2 adults + 2 children)
- Guided tours: €5 per person (minimum of 5 people)
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