Government-sponsored inns similar to Spain's paradores. In 1942, Portugal initiated a system of state-run inns, pousadas, housed in restored, historic castles, convents, manor houses, palaces, and monasteries. By 2008, this system included more than forty pousadas or inns in every region of the country and in the Azores Islands. Recently, the government-owned system came under the management of Pestana Hotels, a private group. Such tourist habitations with reasonable nightly rates have been in high demand and feature antique, period furnishings and restaurants with Portuguese cuisine. Most are located in or near towns or cities with other historic places and sites. A source of information for travelers is the official website, at www.pousadas.pt.
   Name of Town in Portugal Name of Pousada
   Agueda Santo Antonio
   Alcácer Do Sal Dom Afonso II
   Alijo Baráo de Forrester
   Almeida Senhoras Das Neves
   Alvito Castelo De Alvito
   Amares Sta. Maria Do Bouro
   Arraiolos N. Sra. Da Assuncao
   Batalha Mestre De Domingues
   Beja São Francisco
   Bragança São Bartolomeu
   Caramulo São Jerónimo
   Condeixa-a-Nova Santa Cristina
   Crato Flor Da Rosa Elvas Santa Luzia Estremoz Rainha Santa Isabel Évora Loios
   Geres/Canicada São Bento Guimarães N. Sa. Da Oliveira Guimarães Santa Marinha Marao São Goncalo Manteigas São Lourenco Marvao Santa Maria Miranda Do Douro Santa Catarina Monsanto Monsanto Murtosa/Aveiro Ria Obidos Castelo Palmela Palmela
   Povoa Das Quartas Santa Barbara Queluz/Lisboa Dona Maria I Sagres Infante
   Sta. Clara-A-Velha Santa Clara
   Santiago Do Cacem Quinta Da Ortiga
   Santiago Do Cacem São Tiago
   S. Pedro/Castelo De Bode São Pedro
   São Bras De Alportel São Bras
   Serpa São Gens
   Setubal São Filipe
   Sousel São Miguel
   Torrao Vale Do Gaio
   Valenca Do Minho São Teotónio
   Viana Do Castelo Monte Santa Luzia
   V. Nova De Cerveira Dom Dinis
   Vila Vicosa Dom João IV
   Azores Islands
   Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira Island) Forte S. Sebastião Horta (Faial Island) Forte S. Cruz
   The history of displaying nativity scenes, portraying the birth of Christ in a manger, goes back in Catholic tradition at least to Christmas 1223, when Saint Francis of Assisi arranged a nativity scene with live figures in a town in Italy, but scholars confirm that this Christmas tradition in the arts is much older than the 13th century. Figurines depicting the Holy Family in nativity scenes were made of various materials, including wood, precious metals, and ceramics. In Portugal, an artistic tradition of making and displaying presepios in or near churches, chapels, and cathedrals reached its zenith in the arts in the 18th century during the long reign of King João V (1706-50). In the Baroque era, an artistic tradition that arrived somewhat late in Portugal, the most celebrated and talented of the nativity scene artists was the 18th-century Coimbra sculptor, Joaquim Machado de Castro (1751/2-1822), but there were other great artists in this field as well. The 18th century's most celebrated sculptor, Machado de Castro created the famous equestrian bronze statue of King José I, in Commerce Square, Lisbon. During the time of Machado de Castro's time, the ceramic nativity scene comprised of large figures and elaborate scenery became a cult, and many nativity scenes were made.
   Today, many of these historic artistic creations, with a strong basis in Christian tradition, can be viewed in various Portuguese museums, palaces, and churches. Some of the most famous larger nativity scenes, including those lovingly created by Machado de Castro of Coimbra, are found on display at Christmas and other times in the Estrela Basilica, the Palace of Necessidades, the Palace of Queluz, the Church of Madre de Deus, the Cathedral in Lisbon, and in other religious or museum buildings in Lisbon, Oporto, and other towns in Portugal. The ceramic nativity scene is not only sacred art but also evolved as folk and now tourist art, as Portuguese nativity scenes, with figures smaller than in the Baroque treasures on display of Machado de Castro, are for sale in a number of stores, as well as in some churches in Lisbon, Oporto, Estremoz, Évora, and other cities. The styles of the nativity scenes vary by region, by town, and by artist, and many include not only sacred figures of the story of the birth of Christ but also traditional, rural, folk figurines depicting Portuguese rural occupations from the 18th and 19th century, as well as figures from stories from the Bible. The ceramic materials of which these figures of varying sizes are made include variations of terracotta.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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