São Martinho do Porto

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São Martinho do Porto
Parish
SMP MAR07-16.JPG
São Martinho do Porto is located in Portugal
São Martinho do Porto
São Martinho do Porto
Coordinates: 39°30′47″N 9°08′02″W / 39.513°N 9.134°W / 39.513; -9.134Coordinates: 39°30′47″N 9°08′02″W / 39.513°N 9.134°W / 39.513; -9.134
Country Portugal
Region Centro
Subregion Oeste
Intermunic. comm. Oeste
District Leiria
Municipality Alcobaça
Area
 • Total 14.64 km2 (5.65 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 2,868
 • Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
The entrance of the bay, viewed from the North

São Martinho do Porto is a freguesia (civil parish) in Alcobaça Municipality, in Oeste Subregion of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 2,868,[1] in an area of 14.64 km².[2] It was a town and county seat until 1855.

History[edit]

The region constituted by the Serra da Pescaria and by the Bouro mountain constituted, in geological times, a single island. When it was divided it gave rise to the bay of São Martinho do Porto.

In historical times, the village was mentioned for the first time in a letter passed in 1257 by Friar Estevão Martins, 12th abbot of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The bay was the sea port of Alcobaça, where activities related to fishing and shipbuilding were developed. It had, in 1801, 932 inhabitants. In 1839 the parishes of Alfeizerão, Salir do Porto and Serra do Bouro were annexed. It had, in 1849, 3,596 inhabitants.

Given the local development and the construction of the pier, already around 1885 the neighborhood of the beach came to remember a second village.

It was constituted has a seaside resort frequented by the nobility and the bourgeoisie since the end of the 19th century, becoming known as the "bidet of the marquees".[3]

Currently the village is constituted by two distinct nuclei:

  • The lower part, near the beach, directed for the tourist activity;
  • The upper part, where the traditional dwellings and the Mother Church reside;

Tourism[edit]

The parish has one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, a bay, shaped like a scallop, with calm waters and fine white sand. São Martinho do Porto was even considered the best beach to go with the family in the guide of 2015 beaches of eDreams. According to the online booking site for travel and hotels, the "natural bay of clear and calm water and surrounded by diverse shops and restaurants offers the ideal conditions for a relaxed family day". In addition, the company, based in Barcelona, says that "it is perfect for the baths of children, while adults relax in the sand or have a drink on a terrace overlooking the sea".[4]

Although the commercial importance of the port has diminished, its tourist activity and the beach life give it a special dynamic, especially during the summer season.

The bay is only connected to the sea by an opening of a few meters. Hence the waters are quiet, great for children and better still for competitions of sailing, windsurf or kayak. The road by the sea, where parking is difficult, has numerous cafes, restaurants and terraces. A narrow pedestrian tunnel gives direct access to the ocean from the dock area.

In the summer of 2014, São Martinho attracted many curious people due to have been visited by a seal, probably coming from France, England or Iceland. The animal became known as "Martinha" and was, in that summer, the "mascot" of the village.[5]

Heritage[edit]

  • Mother Church - Temple from the 18th century. In its interior stands out, behind the altar, a large canvas, painted with oil, with the image of the miracle of São Martinho.
  • Chapel of Santo António - Near the beach of Santo António, there is a small temple on the top of a hill. Its interior is simple, decorated with only two images: The patron's and the Virgin's. Outside, blue and white tile panels, representing the legend of the miracle of the formation of the "lake", the cove that forms before the entrance of the access bar to the bay of São Martinho do Porto.

Points of interest[edit]

  • Viewpoint - Located on the Santo António hill, offers a privileged view to the bay.[6]
  • Lighthouse of the Santo António hill - In remote times next to a fort that defended the entrance of the bay, it is part of a orientation system for the sailors that includes two headlights located in the dunes, in front of the bar.[7]
  • Tunnel - It is a pleasant walk and the contemplation of the opposite sides of the tunnel provides a sublime experience. On one side, the calm waters of the Bay, on the other the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean that hit with violence in the rocks.
  • Garden of the Engineer Frederico Ulrich Square - Green leisure space dedicated to children.
  • José Bento da Silva School - Inaugurated in 1883 with the purpose of training primary and secondary education, today it is the seat of Town Council, Culture House José Bento da Silva, Library and Environmental Defense Association of São Martinho do Porto.
  • Viewpoint of the José Bento da Silva Square - Privileged view over the Bay and direct access to the Outeiro Elevator.
  • Ruins (Salir do Porto) - Ruins of the artisanal Customs where the caravels that participated in the discoveries and conquests were built, in the reigns of D. Afonso V and D. João II. Here were also built part of the ships that took D. Sebastião to Alcácer Quibir.
  • Little Slop (Salir do Porto) - It is a spring of fresh water that is born near the ocean. It is believed to be a miraculous water for many diseases, namely to have properties beneficial to skin problems.
  • Dune (Salir do Porto) - Once the largest of Europe, the Dune of Salir stands out in the landscape of São Martinho Bay, with an altitude of approximately 50m and 200m in length. The core of the Dune consists in part of a red sandstone, vestige of an older fossil dune.
São Martinho do Porto: Panoramic view of the beach and village

References[edit]

  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Direção-Geral do Território
  3. ^ "The Western Shell". SIC Notícias. 27 de junho de 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "São Martinho is the "best beach to go with family" according to eDreams". Gazeta das Caldas. 21 de agosto de 2015.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Northern Europe seal is an attraction in S. Martinho do Porto". Público. 31 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Requalified Largo do Cruzeiro becomes an excellent viewpoint of São Martinho do Porto". Gazeta das Caldas. 13 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Lighthouse of the Santo António hill". Website of the Parish of São Martinho do Porto. 

External links[edit]