Vernacular Aesthetics

“To look through a Becher book is to take a lesson in vernacular aesthetics ; it is to learn to read differences in composition, rhythm and formal solutions where an ordinarily eye would see only indifference and standardisation; it is to derive intense pleasure from your own capacity of discrimination; it is to suffer from your inability to back it up by a technical vocabulary that would make it possible for you to detail a gasometer’s architecture as if it were a cathedral.”

Thierry de Duve, ‘Bernd et Hilla Becher ou la photographie monumentaire’ in Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no. 39, pp. 118-29.

gasometer

São Domingos Mine

The São Domingos Mines in Alentejo, close to Mértola, were abandoned in 1966 after centuries of mining activities.

The area now resembles a post-apocalyptic waste land with its abandoned buildings, lagoons that are full of waste from the mines and as a result have high acidic levels and unusual bright metallic colors and a fascinating barren landscape due to the mining activities, pollution and a general hot climate. It is a beautiful site for those that can appreciate industrial decay.

The town of São Domingos itself has the renovated old mining quarters and an enormous mining pit. More interesting however, is the walk from Santana de Cambas to São Domingos following the old railroad, which is around 15 km round trip, you will very likely be all alone in this barren landscape with these old mining structures along the way and it will be walk you will not easily forget.

Cemitério dos Ingleses

Cemitério dos Ingleses (‘British Cemetery’) was founded in 1717 and  is a burial place for mostly non-Portuguese inhabitants of Lisbon and its surrounding areas.  Perhaps the most famous person buried here is Henry Fielding, the English novelist and dramatist who came to Lisbon in 1754 to find a cure for his ailments and never left as he died in Lisbon only 2 months after his arrival.

Galeria do Loreto

The most recent addition to the Museu da Água is the Galeria do Loreto (‘Loreto Gallery’), which connects the Reservatório da Patriarcal with the São Pedro de Alcântara garden.  The Galeria do Loreto has a total length of 2835 m and a public tour is now available of a part of gallery (around 400 meter). There are plans to open up other parts of the gallery.

Ponte 25 de Abril

The Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) is a suspension bridge connecting Lisbon to Almada on the south bank of the river Tejo. Because of its similarities in color and design It is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (USA).