Fort of São João Baptista das Berlengas

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The Fort of São João Baptista das Berlengas , or  Fortaleza de las Berlengas , is located on the island of Berlenga Grande, in the archipelago of the Berlengas, integrating the defensive complex of Peniche, in the district of Leiria, in western coast of Portugal.
The construction of this fort was first ordered by King Manuel I of Portugal in 1502. However, construction did not really begin until 1651 during the reign of King João IV of Portugal. In 1678, the construction of this fort was completed. The fortress was built from the remains of the previously abandoned Misericórdia da Berlenga Monastery.
The fort is located in the waters of the southeast coast of Berlenga Grande, on a small islet connected to the island by a causeway with an arched bridge and an anchorage to the north. The fort has an irregular octagonal polygon shape. On the embankment, on the side facing the island, it presents the main two-story building, with twelve rooms where the service units used to work (Command House, Troop Barracks, Warehouses, Kitchen and others) and eight more compartments inscribed in inside the walls. An unlit corridor gives internal access to the different points of the structure. towards the sea there are eleven cannon embrasures.
In the middle of the 20th century, the fort was partially restored and opened to tourism, adapted as an inn, Today it has a restaurant and a hotel with a capacity for 50 people.

Access : Coordinates: 39.411239, -9.510117 /The Berlengas Islands are located 10 km from Peniche, a small town located on the coast, about an hour’s drive from Lisbon. Take a boat from the town of Peniche, which is approximately 20 minutes from the islands. Price € 20.

Highlights :

  •  The fortress has a plan in the form of an irregular heptagonal polygon. On the embankment, the part facing the island, presents the main building with two floors, with twelve compartments where the service areas operated (Casa de la Comandancia – Command House,  of the troop, shops, kitchen and others) and eight registered magazines on walls. A corridor without light gives access to various points within the structure.towards the sea there are eleven cannon embrasures.
  • Although no one knows the exact date when the works started as early as 1655, when it was still under construction, it successfully withstood its first assault while being bombarded by three Turkish-flagged ships.
  •  The Berlengas Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, about ten kilometers off the coast of Peniche, The Berlengas Islands, a natural reserve and pride of Portugal
  •  With no greater military value, in view of the evolution of military means in the 19th century, it was dismantled (1847) and abandoned and started to be used as a support base for fishing.

Activities : sightseeing / Hiking trails ,Berlenga Grande is easily covered on foot. / Discover the natural charm of the Berlengas Islands / snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean or taking a glass-bottom boat ride through the caves and grottos of the Berlengas Islands.
/ Kayak : You can rent a kayak and explore the island’s caves on your own.

Go next : The Peniche, a charming seaside town – The Peniche Fortress is a place worth visiting,  for its spectacular views over the Atlantic / the rock formation “the elephant”

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