Leading up to the church which sits on top of the hill is an impressive set of 686 stairs, you can see the view looking down. Just try to imagine how the religious zealots do it on their knees.
The last level area or platform before you reach the church is "home" to a beautiful blue tile wall decoration. You might notice, on the closup shot of the tiles, that the window shown there mimics perfectly one of the windows on the church itself.
The central piece of the stairway is the pillar/fountain that stands on the last platform before reaching the church on top of the mountain. The male figures crouching at the bottom still spout water from their mouths although there seems to be some "leaking" around the shoulder area. Some of the motifs seem out of place in a religious site, like the "sun", which seems more suited to an Aztec site, but who knows maybe they were hedging their bets.
Just below the church itself is the first "platform" or level area where you find a ring of statues perched on top of pillars. If I counted correctly there are 18 of these, although I have no idea who or what they depict or represent. There are no explanation signs at the site.
Inside Santuario Nossa dos Remedios there are numerous blue tile panels depicting various religious scenes. As with so much of the blue tile work here in Portugal they are a very vibrant art form that, at least to a layman's eyes, seems super difficult to work with, but in the end adds so much to whatever surrounds it.
Some of the guide books call the Santuario Nossa dos Remedios,, the little brother of the Bom Jesus sanctuary in Braga...well it may be smaller, but it was built first back in 1750, while the other built 34 years later.
If you walk up to the sanctuary, you will have to zig and zag up more than 600 steps, quite a feat on your FEET..the religious pilgrams do it on their KNEES.
The design of the stairway is exquisite, with landscaping along the sides of the beautiful granite steps and with carvings adorning each terrace. The uppermost terrace, shown here, is called the 'Court of Kings' because of the statues of royalty that encircle it.
The entire complex is located within a large forested park, that has walking trails and places for picnics. It was a very popular spot with the locals when we were there!
Pre-dating the birth of Portugal itself, this Gothic-style cathedral was built in 1129 by Afonso Henriques, who became the first King of Portugal a few years later. Over the years of its existance, various additions have blended in other construction styles as well. Today, this National Monument also acts as a museum for artwork from over the centuries.
We stumbled upon the building by accident while wandering not far from the town square, as we were looking for an internet cafe (closed on Saturdays) and postcards to mail home!
The Hotel do Parque, where we were staying just happened to be located at the very top of the famous grand staircase in Lamego.
From here, we had a great view out over the city, including its treed main boulevard area at the bottom of the staircase. This was a great way to approach the city!
Lamego's main claim to fame is its double staircase consisting of 686-steps ascending both sides of a broad stone boulevard leading up to the shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios. Along the way are 9 terraces, some of which are beautifully decorated with 'Azulejo' ceramic tiles (see Local Customs).
Over the years, a small church built on the hillside in 1391, became a place of pilgrimage to the Virgin. As a result, the present-day twin-spired shrine was built on the site in 1761, along with its spectacular double set of stone stairways.
This view from the town square below provides a good view of the site, even showing the blue/white azulejos on the terraces.
The centre of Lamego contains a beautiful treed esplanade with pools and statues down its middle. Around the perimeter are various shops and older buildings serving the needs of the many people who regularly use the square. It was great to be able to look up and see the shrine overlooking the area! This view is looking away from the hillside, into the centre of Lamego itself.
Some of the most beautiful images from churches are the windows, usually stained glass, but here the first photo shows a window "frame" that was the most elegant of them all on the outside.