Belem Botanical Garden
I recently spent a week in Lisbon. One of my favourite visits was to the Botanical Garden in Belem, just outside the city.
Belem is easy to get to with lots of trams, buses and trains running out there from Lisbon city centre. There is a lot to interest visitors, from historic sites such as the beautiful Jeronimos Monastery and Tower of Belem to more recent creations such as the Monument to the Discoveries and the modern art on display at the Berardo Museum. Belem is also the home of the delicious Pasteis de Belem, a variation on pasteis de nata which is made one at pastry shop in the town.
But this being a gardening blog I'm going to concentrate on my photos from the beautiful Botanical Garden, if you want to visit you will find the entrance just behind and to the right of the Jeronimos Monastery.
Created in 1906, the garden belongs to the Tropical Research Institute (IICT).
Buildings and art
Lisbon and the areas surrounding it seem to have a lot of beautiful, abandoned buildings and the botanical gardens are no exception. The gardens cover 5 acres, leading slowly uphill to the Palácio dos Condes da Calheta. I haven't been able to find out about its history prior to 1906 but it would not surprise me if it was originally the garden of the palace, as some of the old buildings and artwork suggest a grand past.
The Macau Garden
Macau - now a special administrative region (SAR) of China - became a Portuguese colony in the mid 16th century and remained under Portuguese administration until 1999. One part of the botanical gardens is dedicated to this relationship with oriental-style plants and features.