Fancy escaping to the sunshine side of life?
After what feels like an eternity in lockdown, we know we do. And Portugal makes for the perfect destination. Providing pleasant sunshine for over 300 days of the year, it’s quite frankly the complete opposite to the gloomy climate we get here in Manchester. So, why not join us in our dream of packing it all in and moving to the glorious European paradise?
Throwing an added bit of fantasy into this dream, Portuguese property site Imovirtual has imagined what the country would be like if it were home to seven of the world’s most famous landmarks. But why? you might ask—and to that we say, why not? Aren’t you at least a little bit curious?
Each landmark—from the Eiffel Tower to Moscow’s Red Square—has been reimagined and adapted to suit a different Portuguese city; all of them “built” with materials and styles that are typically Portuguese, such as decorative tiles or the symbolic rooster. So hold tight, you’re about to be a witness to Imovirtual‘s imagination running wild…
The Eiffel Tower in Lisbon
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and, of course, it actually resides in the French capital. However, let’s imagine it in the centre of the most famous square in Lusitania, and one of the biggest in Europe, Praça do Comércio. The perfect spot—particularly if it were not the Parisian structure we all know, but in fact a masterpiece made of tile.
Of course, if this were a reality, anyone in their right mind would be after an apartment in the nearby Rossio so they could arrive at the Tower before anyone else. A two-bedroom apartment in Bairro Alto would also have an amazing view over the river with the Tower as part of the landscape. Alternatively, a one-bedroom flat in Cacilhas would suit a couple who could take a romantic stroll across the river every day to get to the famous Tower.
The Statue of Liberty in Porto
The city of Porto is often known as Cidade Invicta, which means “Invincible City”. This name comes from the Siege of Porto, or Cerco do Porto, which took place during the Liberal Wars (1832–1834) that devastated the country. For more than a year, liberal troops were under siege. It was this resistance that ultimately resulted in the liberals, led by D. Pedro, winning this long battle. Thus making Porto—in the eyes of D. Maria II, successor to the throne—the Invincible City.
Porto undoubtedly deserved an emblematic statue to represent this great and immense victory, which changed the course of Portuguese history. For Imovirtual, there is no statue better fitting than the Statue of Liberty. Forget the Lady Liberty we all know though, this statue would be made of wood… but not just any wood. Port Wine is an undeniable symbol not only of this city, but also of the country. Therefore, the Portuguese Statue of Liberty would be made from the wood of Port Wine barrels, with a metal belt to style the lady’s beautiful figure.
Imagine what it would be like to rent an apartment in Porto with not only a magnificent view over the city, but the Statue of Liberty taking pride of place along the skyline. Or an apartment with two bedrooms near the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, where you could contemplate the river joining the sea, as well as the impressive statue adorning the landscape.
The Colosseum in Viana do Castelo
The Colosseum is the biggest and most famous symbol of the Roman Empire, and was first built as an entertainment venue way back in 70 A.D. Romans could attend shows in which gladiators fought to the death (not my idea of fun, but the times they have a-changed).
Fighting was never a part of Portuguese culture, but evidence of the Roman Empire is still prevalent across the country. In Viana do Castelo, you’ll find the Citadel of Saint Lucia, one of the most prominent buildings for studying the romanisation of the Minho region. With this in mind, Imovirtual decided to bring the famous Colosseum to this city, to Saint Lucia’s Hill in particular, where the remains of the ancient Roman settlement were found.
In Imovirtual’s world, Viana’s Colosseum would be decorated with one of the most beautiful works of Portuguese art: filigree. This is an ancient art that originated during the Roman period. The Colosseum would be amazing at sunset, when the sun would be reflected in the fine gold threads. The entire avenue of Viana do Castelo would gain a new life, and an apartment in the city centre with views over Saint Lucia’s Hill would be awash with magical, natural light.
Red Square in Braga
Moscow’s Red Square is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Featuring the stunning St. Basil’s Cathedral painted in vibrant colours, it is the heart and soul of the city, and indeed Russia. Recognising a city with an equally grandiose monument, and where Red Square would fit in perfectly, Imovirtual have reimagined it in Braga’s Bom Jesus do Monte.
Bom Jesus do Monte is the most symbolic and grandiose sanctuary in all of Europe and, like Red Square, has been classified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. In Imovirtual’s dreamland, it would of course have the same strong and vibrant colours, but would be made of ceramic and decorated with the famous symbol of Portugal, the Galo de Barcelos (that’s the Rooster you’ll have seen in the windows of any Portuguese souvenir shop).
Now think about what it would be like to live in the city centre of Braga, on the hill that can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Instead of seeing Bom Jesus though—which is already an imposing building—you would have the chance to stare out at a beautiful replica of St. Basil’s Cathedral in blue, yellow, black, red and white. Rent prices would skyrocket, and the perfect one-bedroom flat in Braga wouldn’t be easy to find, let alone a three-bedroom apartment with a terrace to spend summer nights, all with the square in the background.
The Taj Mahal in Coimbra
Behind such a majestic and emblematic monument there could only have been a love story. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Emperor Shan Jahan to honour the memory of his beloved third wife. They lived out a love affair for 19 years until the death of the princess, who died giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. Her passing shook Jahan so much that he chose to honour her with the construction of the imposing Taj Mahal. (General life advice: find yourself a partner who would build a future Wonder of the World for you.)
Incidentally, it was also in Portugal that one of the most remarkable love stories in history took place: the fatal love between Pedro and Inês, known as the Lusitanian Romeo and Juliet. The two lived a forbidden love for 10 years in the old Paço de Santa Clara in Coimbra. It was in Quinta das Lágrimas, a park in the city of students and poets, that Inês met her tragic end. King Afonso IV, Pedro’s father and the greatest opponent of this union, had Inês murdered.
Since this article is all about what ifs, Pedro could have, like Jahan, ordered the construction of a Portuguese Taj Mahal. So let’s pretend he did. It would be a monument equal in opulence, but instead of marble and precious stones, it would be built with famous Portuguese clay and decorated with hearts, flowers and romantic notes that characterise not only this nation, but heart-aching love stories.
Have you ever imagined purchasing or renting a flat in Coimbra alongside the Taj Mahal? Of course you haven’t. But, if you’re a bit of a romantic, why not start looking for your one-bedroom dream home in the city of love?
The Pyramids of Giza in Santarém
The Giza Pyramids are probably the most distinct in the world, with many left baffled that they were built so many thousands of years ago.
It’s in the Giza plateau, 18 kilometres outside of Cairo, that you’ll actually find these well-known Pyramids. But you know where else is on top of a plateau and, like Egypt, is a very hot and extremely dry region? Santarém. There wouldn’t be a better place in Portugal to plonk the Pyramids of Giza.
Santarém has fifteen monasteries and around forty small churches, but what if they were all replaced with pyramids? They are also places of worship, after all. Back in the day, in Portugal at least, it was customary to bury kings, bishops and important men in monasteries and churches, just like the ancient Egyptian pharaohs were buried inside pyramids.
A great monument such as this, if it were built in Portugual of course, could only be made of one thing: traditional Portuguese pavement. It’s a great historical Lusitanian heritage used for many pedestrian areas all over the country.
Living in Santarém might be slightly more expensive, but living in a house with a view over a pyramid would surely be worth it. Purchasing a house or renting an apartment would be a great investment: maybe a one-bedroom or two-bedroom flat in the centre? You could even make a profit by turning it into an AirBnb, because people would certainly start flooding to Santarém…
The Sydney Opera House in Faro
What do Sydney and Faro have in common? Well, they’re both by the water, they’re both of great commercial importance for their respective countries, and the predominant language is English (in the summer, Faro becomes ‘the English beach’).
The construction of the Sydney Opera House changed the paradigms of architecture worldwide. It is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the world, right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Ship it over to Portugal and it would fit perfectly in the capital of the Algarve, Faro. More specifically, in Ilha da Culatra, also known as Ilha do Farol, belonging to the municipality of Faro. It’s a magical island, illuminated at night by a magnificent lighthouse that guides local fishermen. With the Opera House located on the edge of the shore, it would be far easier to spot, and would attract worldwide attention.
Being in Portugal it would of course need the magical Portuguese touch. Imovirtual would decorate it with cork, a material that represents the country. Not to mention that cork is an ideal element to make the acoustics of the space perfect: essential for any Opera House.
Renting or purchasing a house in Faro is already a dream, what with its gorgeous beaches, but the addition of such an iconic monument would make renting a three-bedroom apartment for holidays with friends an even better idea.