08 Jul World Heritage in Portuguese
World Heritage – or the “common heritage of mankind” – is a collection of sites considered by the scientific community to be of unparalleled essential importance to humanity. In truth, any space could be considered heritage, from a small monument to a landscape of many miles.
This distinction is awarded by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and in recent years has been given to cultural events and rituals which are classified as heritage because of their individuality and historical dimension.
Four of the nine Portuguese-speaking countries have sites which are considered World Heritage. Below are some examples of the uniqueness of culture and nature in Portuguese.
The city of M’banza-Kongo was founded before the arrival of the Portuguese. It was the capital of a dynasty of the Kingdom of Kongo since 1483. Later, in 1549, the Catholic church known as the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour of Congo was built, which was later elevated to a cathedral and visited by Pope John Paul II.
During the civil wars which broke out in the 17th century, the city was completely abandoned, only to be repopulated – as it remains to this day – nearly 100 years later.
M’banza-Kongo’s historic centre was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2017.
Although Brazil has 21 World Heritage sites, we have chosen the Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda to represent all of them.
Olinda was one of colonial Brazil’s richest cities between the 16th century and the start of the 17th century because of the sugar-cane industry. Thanks to its opulence, comparable to the Portuguese court, it became known as “Little Lisbon”.
It was recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1982.
The Island of Mozambique was Mozambique’s first capital, and the city which gave the country its name. It was of great strategic importance as a navigation point on the maritime route to India which connected Lisbon with Goa, becoming a gathering place for ships. Although the island is only three kilometres long and 300–400 metres wide, it was classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1991 because of its architectural beauty.
Portugal has 17 world Heritage sites, mostly landscapes and natural parks. We chose the University of Coimbra as an example.
Along with being the oldest and one of the biggest universities in the country, founded on 01 March 1290, it is one of the oldest in the entire world which is still operating. With approximately 25,000 students, it has one of Portugal’s largest communities of international students.
It was declared World Heritage by UNESCO on 22 June 2013.