Portugal dos Pequenitos, a miniaturized Portugal
Portugal dos Pequenitos is an amazing park, in Coimbra, presenting miniature replicas of Portuguese monuments and house, enchanting visitors of all ages.
Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal of the little ones), one of the many attractions of Coimbra, is a theme park opened since June 8th, 1940, thus being the oldest amusement park of Portugal and one of the oldest in the world.
Mainly devoted to children it also delights adults due to its miniature houses and monuments that depict the essence of Portugal. Born out of the will of Bissaya Barreto a Medicine Professor of the Coimbra University, closely linked to the Salazar regime, and designed by architect Cassiano Branco, Portugal dos Pequenitos was intended to preserve and pass on to the future generations the Portuguese presence and influence in the world.
Portugal dos Pequenitos is divided into five main areas, namely Portuguese Monuments, Portuguese Expression Countries, Madeira and Azores, Coimbra and Regional Houses.
In the area Portuguese Monuments visitors find small-scale replicas of some of the most significant monuments of the country, with especial emphasis to those of Lisbon. Noteworthy is the copy of the famous window of the Convent of Christ, a work in masonry created by Valentim de Azevedo.
The Portuguese Expression Countries area honors the Portuguese speaking countries in Africa, Brazil, Macau, Timor and India, through a representation of their ethnography and heritage.
In the area devoted to Madeira and Azores are miniaturized the main monuments of the Autonomous Regions. The lakes surrounding them create the illusion of the Atlantic Ocean, enhancing the concept of the archipelagos.
Naturally there is an area representing Coimbra, the city known as the students’ city, due to its ancient University. In fact, the University building is the major highlight of this area.
Photo by leorolim
Last but not least, there is the Regional Houses area, the favorite of the children. Here they can explore miniature examples of the traditional regional houses existing in Portugal from North to South. The small scale and the trustworthy details of each house amaze all that visit them, creating the sense that we are entering in charming dollhouses from ancient times, reflecting ways of living almost forgotten.
To enrich culturally Portugal dos Pequenitos were created three museums that compliment the pedagogic information of the above-mentioned architectonic areas.
The Costume Museum exhibits around 300 miniature pieces, which represent the evolution of the costumes throughout the years, from the XVI century until the XX century, while depicting scenes of the typical Portuguese way of living. As a curiosity, let me say that all these costumes were hand made on the 1950s and offered to the park.
The Navy Museum presents miniature replicas of different boats constructed at the Mondego Shipyard, at Figueira da Foz. Besides fishing boats, battleships and frigates you can find some ancient naval instruments.
The Furniture Museum, opened during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the park, has an impressive collection of furniture miniatures made of noble and rare woods, such as satinwood or rosewood.
From October to February the park is opened from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
From March to May and the second fortnight of September is opened from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm.
From 1st June to 15th September is opened from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm.