Archive for September, 2012

Old Hospital of Vialonga, Portugal

Posted: September 28, 2012 in Portugal


Incredibly, I found this place by sheer coincidence. It was a nice Friday afternoon and my niece volunteered to made me some company in a Geocaching journey. We were moving between caches, following the route drew by my GPS, and we passed here! Wow! My first thought was “I have to check this out”. My second thought was “All right, this made my day… no… my whole trip to Lisbon!”.

First things first: this is easy Urbex. Parking available just in front and the entrance spot is “just” the main gate of the hospital which is now wide open. On the other hand, some parts of the first floor are a bit dangerous as in several spots the roof collapsed.


Now, some historical background. The building was built in the 17th century as a manor house and its first owner was the count Vale-de-Reys; later, already in the 19th century, the Duke of Loulé took over the property and ordered a serious renovation of the building. During the 20th Century (couldn’t find a date) it became a hospital, and a hospital were until the last years of that century. It was then abandoned.

The manor house was part of a larger property named Quinta da Flamenga. Part of it was converted in a nice public park across the street. Also across the street you will find a huge tank of water, probably with recreational purposes.

Overall this is a good Urbex site. I like hospitals, in this sense. It’s like the amount of “ghosts” is above average, more stories to be told by those walls. Now, a manor house converted into a hospital is even better.  A shame I couldn’t find a way to get to the chapel and to the upper floor. Probably they are properly blocked.

 38° 52.433’N   9° 5.320’W


 

 

 

 


I know nothing about this place. I explored it during a Geocaching afternoon with my niece. It’s easily accessible, standing by the road, but if you come to this place, be aware: it’s almost invisible from the road, which is perhaps why it is not heavily vandalized, considering it’s located in a very populated area. So, follow your GPS and when the device tells you are approaching, it means it! Even if you don’t believe a factory can be 80 meters from you.

Don’t miss the first building, it’s where all the fun is, with all the documents (some of them from the 70’s) and files and printed envelops. I wonder what is the full nature of the building. It was obviously the reception and the office… but I am puzzled with two areas which seems like two apartments. Then going down, the workshops and corners with unknown purposes. These buildings were built on the top of a rock and down, some serious meters down, there is a stream passing (there was plenty of water even considering it didn’t rain for 5 months when I visited). I bet these guys seriously polluted the water of the stream. Well, not anymore. They are obviously out of business. By the way, if you bothered to find a way to go up the rotten wooden stairs, let me know what’s in there. I was curious but not that curious.


Parking and entering spot (yes, it’s a good one for lazy fellows who appreciate a drive in urbex place):

N 38° 52.673 W 009° 07.833

 

I know nothing about this place, but specially I know nothing about the current status of the monastery. I came to the place in 2006. By then it was a ruin. Getting there involved a little stroll, some orientation, but in the end it was wide open and no troubles expected. Well… no troubles… approaching the structure I heard a couple of shots. Alert! It was a false alarm, I guess, two fellows decided to try their new gun. They were leaving while I was carefully entering the premises. No troubles.

Meanwhile I heard tales about a different kind of problems. Apparently the monastery has been renovated, or at least maintained, so it doesn’t collapse. Perhaps because of that it seems the access is not so easy anymore. There are fences and perhaps someone keeping an eye on the grounds. But well, I guess you won’t know unless you try! Either way I am afraid the place won’t have the same magic atmosphere I found there six years ago. It was a marvellous trail, all the way up hill, passing near the more recent monastery and finally getting to the other one, the most interesting. The vegetation involving the structure was luxuriant, and someone called it “the ganging gardens of Babylon”. For a very good reason. Now, even if you manage to break in, I suppose you will see traces of the recent works, or worst.

This monastery was built in 1578. Further information about the architecture of the place, in Portuguese, can be found in the website of Quinta de São Paulo, a huge property where these two monasteries are located.

 

Parking: N 38º32.697′ W 8º54.476′

Walk by the right of the new monastery (also interesting)… and the place  is at N 38° 32.951 W 008° 54.555

 

Life is full of surprises and this monastery was quite a surprise. When I left home I had no idea I would bump into such a place. Furthermore, I had no idea of the existence of this wonder right on the heart of Portimão, a city where I came so many times in the past. It was a geocache which brought me to the vicinity of the monastery and while I was seating in a cafe, browsing Google Earth to inspect the cache spot, I noticed this ruin…. I opened a random picture and… wow factor! I have to get in there!

It wasn’t that difficult. At first sight I got a bit disappointed: the gate of the monastery was properly locked and I thought that someone who would bother to protect the gate so fiercely wouldn’t leave any other breach unattended. Oh I was so wrong… just walk around and the wall becomes a little thing in a given spot. Break in is easy!


Once inside the ruins didn’t disappoint me. There is plenty to explore, and I especially liked the cloister and some frescos still visible on the roof of the chapel. The outdoors, although with a considerable area, didn’t bring me nothing but a good angle to take a  clear shot of the monastery as in a general view.


 

I didn’t see any strange people wandering around, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s basically in the city center, surrounded by the harbor, and very accessible.

A bit of history: the monastery was founded in 1530. Actually, when the monks arrived, the church was already there. The beginning of the end can be found in 1755, when the major earthquake which shook the country caused the collapse of the church cupola and the destruction of several buildings of the complex. Later, when the patrimony of the Church was transferred to private ownership, the monastery structure gradually decayed; in 1884, while being used as storage for cork, a fire erupted, destroying all the inside. In 1911 it was already a ruin and the place was bought by João António Júdice Fialho, a well known industry man which used the property to support his fish canning factories.

More recently the city of Portimão has been trying to buy the monastery remnants for their current owner, the family Souza Coutinho. Actually, the family dreamed about a luxurious hotel on the location, with 60 bedrooms, swimming-pool, restaurant & etc. But nothing happened.

 

 


Entering spot: N 37 07.740, W 8 31.919