Portugal is full of churches, palaces, fortresses and restored historic houses containing private art collections. Possibly there are more historic sites per capita in Portugal than anywhere in Europe. Older houses, too, are frequently architecturally interesting, with curved roof lines, angled windows, wrought iron balconies, tiled facades and other graceful details.
We even see the occasional Art Deco structure, though most of these are past their prime.
Every city has a lot of older buildings in need of remodeling or repair. We saw this in Lisbon and Porto as well as in the smaller places that we passed through.
This reminded me of the Fez medina where buildings are cantilevered over narrow streets. They often look like they need additional support.
I have nothing against large apartment buildings in general (well, not a lot), but in Portugal, new buildings generally ignore every possible reference to the architectural past, resulting in whitewashed boxes. If there are balconies, they are usually made of cement–they have no detail at all.
Why can’t new buildings in Portugal have any of the attractive features of older buildings? The tall piles of stacked featureless boxes come from the descendants of the creators of Manueline architectural style, possibly the most ornate in history. I don’t particularly want to live in a Baroque nightmare of twisting snakes and crowns. Here’s an all out example of a Manueline doorway. This probably wouldn’t work for every doorway…