Jardins da Quinta das Lágrimas
UNESCO World Heritage Designation :
Type of Historical Garden:
Romantic 19th century garden including a medieval fountain
Hotel Quinta das Lágrimas
Rua António Augusto Gonçalves
Santa Clara – Apartado 5053
3041 – 901 Coimbra, Portugal
+351 913 060 516
+351 918 108 232
Google Maps Coordinates:
Access from the provincial capital :
From Lisbon: High way 2 hours, train 2 hours
Access from the nearest place to the site :
Easy Bus and pedestrian
Visitors’ Reception Centre
Activities for the general public
Parking for private vehicles
Parking for buses
Access for people with disabilities or reduced
Others: July arts festival, amphitheatre concerts
Nearest parking for buses:
The hotel parkiing
Nearest parking for private vehicles:
20 m away
Days open to the public:
Every day excepts mondays
Types of visits:
Guided, guided for schools and free visit
Duration of visits:
Maximum number of visitors in a group:
Maximum number of visitors per day:
2,5€ and family ticket 5€
By phone or email
Prior purchase of tickets:
Yes. By email or by phone to:
Cláudia do Vale
+351 918 108 232
Activities for the public:
Workshops during July
Nearest cultural destinations:
– Convento de Santa Clara a Velha: http://www.centerofportugal.com/santa-clara-a-velha-monastery/
Nearest natural destinations:
– Museu Nacional Machado de Castro: http://www.museumachadocastro.gov.pt/
– Universidade de Coimbra: http://www.uc.pt/en
Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra: https://www.uc.pt/jardimbotanico
Hotel Quinta das Lágrimas
Crafts, gastronomy, gift shops etc., at the site or in the area:
Image credits: Antonio Sacchetti
Gardens of Largimas
Natural environment of the garden
Lágrimas Estate lies on the left bank of the Mondego river, and Coimbra is on the right bank. A steep slope surrounds 20 ha of fertile land enriched by the frequent Mondego’s flood. The natural geology of the slope is mainly limestone which grants to this place its uniqueness: an unusual abundance of fresh water that springs at the slope’s lower level and flows through 3 different channels. With the wind protection assured by the hill, the abundant water and the rich soil the vegetation here grows luxuriously and some sub-tropical species found here their adequate habitat.; the ficus macrophylla, the podocarpus, the cinamomun camphora, but other flora such as the sequoia sempervirens the cedrus libani, the cedrus atlantica the cupressus lusitanica, the araucaria bidwilli, the camellia sinnensis, the liquidambar steracifola.There is a dense forest of laurel and the lower layers of vegetation have grown freely creating a thick Mediterranean maquis.
The house was built at a higher level to avoid the flood. Water was a “regular friend” in this settlement and the fertile deposits left by the river were welcome in the higher areas around the buildings which were called “islands “as indicated in the old maps.
The three Mediterranean traditional products were harvested here: wheat, grapes and olives and later orange orchards produced abundant fruit.
Yet the most important feature of this landscape has always been the water, springing from the earth and the rocks, at the bottom of the slope or flooding the property yearly. Mondego river surrounded the land leaving behind a calm and reflecting lake. During those moments the place became a waterscape with the house set on an island and the trees reflecting on the wáter. These natural qualities granted the uniqueness of the place.
Historical background of the garden
Since the 14th century the Gardens of Lágrimas Estate have been accumulating memories as constructions or in documents and legends of past events that took place there. The history of the property is documented from 1326 when the Queen Saint Isabel requested a new canal to carry water from the springs in the property to her nearby Convent of Saint Claire. The place from where the water springs is called the “Fountain of Love” (Fonte dos Amores) for it witnessed the passionate love of Queen Isabel’s grandson D. Pedro with Inês de Castro.
The other spring on the property was named the “Fountain of Tears” (Fonte das Lágrimas) by the poet Camões for the old legend says that it was created by the tears of Inês as she was murdered. The blood of Inês remains in the stones of the canal, still red after 650 years. …” Tears are the water and the name is Love” wrote Camões in “The Lusíadas”.
In 1650 a wall was built around the property and paths and fences were drawn along the wood. A large pool was built to store the water pouring in from the Fonte das Lágrimas fountain. The water was then drained through a canal from the pool to the grinding wheel of the olives mill where abundant, good quality olive oil was produced.
In 1813, the Duke of Wellington was a guest at Lágrimas Estate, at the invitation of his aide-de-camp, António Maria Osório Cabral de Castro, owner of the Quinta and ancestor of the current owners. To celebrate the event two Wellingtonian trees (Sequoia gigantea) were planted and a tablet with the inscription of the famous stanza from “The Lusíadas” on the love story of Pedro and Inês posted on one of them. Around 1850, Miguel, António’s son, had a romantic garden planted and built with winding lakes and exotic and rare trees that two centuries later thrive in the micro climate of the Quinta. His nephew and the great grandfather of the current owners, D. Duarte de Alarcão Velasquez Sarmento Osório, erected an arch entrance and a neo-gothic window at the entrance of the mine which the Queen Saint Isabel had built. The door and window are the gateway to the mysterious world of the wood. The 19th century bore witness to several royal visits, from the Emperor of Brazil to King Miguel of Portugal.
Hotel Quinta das Lágrimas was founded in 1995. In 2004, the hotel invited Gonçalo Byrne (architect and Prize Winner by the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris) to design the new wing, which would accommodate bedrooms, as well as meeting places and a spa. In 2006, landscape architect Cristina Castel-Branco began the renovation of the gardens which were donated to the Inês de Castro Foundation. The Medieval garden was redesigned, the wood walls restored, as were the Love and the Tears canals. Flora curtains, sequoia groves and a Japanese garden inside of Hotel were planted and the Colina de Camões amphitheatre was built (won the Portuguese Landscape Architecture Award in the 2008). All of these elements, from the Fonte dos Amores f to the Colina de Camões, are still in their original places, authentic and incorrupt.
Description of the Garden
The area of the Quinta was used from a very early time and, during the medieval times, the property belonged to a monastic Order, the Holy Cross Monks. The place is first referred as the Pigeon House Farm and the pigeon house remains one of the oldest features on the site.
The farm was located south of Sta Clara convent dating from 1314 when Queen Saint Isabel, wife of King Denis, decided to enlarge the convent. The place is first referred by the queen in 1326, as she ordered the construction of the water channel, collecting water from two natural springs to feed the convent of Sta Clara.
In the 14th century, the Quinta was the place of the tragic love story between the Crown Prince Pedro and the lady in waiting of his wife, Inês de Castro. Their love’s heaven was “Quinta das Lágrimas” and this tranquil spot has kept the pleasant atmosphere of love and courting. For political reasons, in 1355, King Denis had Inês killed. Five years later Prince Pedro succeeded to his father. He worked his revenge upon those who had persecuted Inês who had been buried at Santa Clara convent. Her body was unearthed and travelled to the Monastery–Church of Alcobaça, whilst all the courtiers upon their knees bowed to their Queen. Pedro made her a stone tomb that was to be kept in front of his own tomb, and their words became a symbol of eternal lov: “Until the end of the world” and so Inês became Queen after death a theme sang by many generations of inspired poets, painters and dramatists.
By the 16th century, Camões, in “The Lusíadas”, sung the features of the place. The spring sprouting from the rock becomes, the Source of Tears (“Fonte das Lágrimas”) as if all Nature around cried when the Prince’s beautiful lover Inês was killed. The strong image conveyed by associating the natural water with suffering tears shed by natural forces to grieve the loss of such an immense love, made the word Lágrimas so absolutely poetic that it became timeless, granting the farm’s name “Quinta das Lágrimas” and presently the Hotel a poetic imagery. The following centruy witnessed many technical adavancements namely in the hydraulic systems and new canalas and reservoirs were introduced and are still functioning. During the 19th century documented improvements were made in the house and a romantic and eclectic garden was created.
In 1995 the manor house was trasnformed into a luxury Hotel by a descendant of the Osório family: José Miguel Judice. The change in use gave an important new role to the garden as the scenery of outdoor events. In 2005, landscape archictect Cristina Castel-Branco was invited to restore the garden and a medieval garden was “interpreted” on site along the authentic chanal of Queen Saint Isabel. A large grass amphitheater was also designed to host a music and an ongoing arts festival that takes place every July to celebrate the love of Inês and Pedro. The hotel is now classified as the top 5 star hotel in the center of Portugal.
1326 fountains and Canals
1601 large pool to store water and Canals to feed the mill for olive oil production
1858 creation of the Romantic garden
1995 transformation of the palace into a hotel
2004 restoration of the garden
Brief description of the Interpretation Centre/Museum
A small Gallery of Ines de Castro Foundation with paintings, engravings and sculptures and a small library about Ines de Castro and the city of Coimbra. It also includes donations from researchers on the Inesian theme and press clippings. All this collection, as well as the environmental heritage and the Lágrimas Estate Archive, archive of the Osório Cabral de Alarcão Family, is available online at the Inês de Castro Foundation’s Integrated Information System at: www.fundacaoinesdecastro.com