Articles Conservation

Portugal in the World: World Heritage of Portuguese Origin

4 November, 2018 4 min reading

Portugal in the World: World Heritage of Portuguese Origin

Following the “Discoveries”, Portugal left a legacy on three continents – Africa, America and Asia – leaving an important legacy of Portuguese culture to other peoples and territories.


In the World Heritage List, registered by UNESCO, there are 962 Portuguese properties. Being scattered by 153 States, 745 are classified as cultural, 188 natural and 29 mixed. From this list of 962, we selected 11 patrimonial assets that are testimony to the Portuguese presence in the world.


The main objectives of the Portuguese in these places were related to the strategic occupation of the territory, the exploitation of natural resources or evangelization, but their permanence allowed a fusion of cultures.


It is from this fusion of cultures that the singularity of the Portuguese heritage in the world results.


Even today, the Portuguese influence in different ways is evident. Whether in the urban layout, in the buildings, in the language, in the habits, customs or even in religious devotion. Those who carry more fully the diversity of the Portuguese heritage in this three continents are the 11 patrimonial assets selected from the list of World Heritage of UNESCO.


As is well known, other European countries have had an impact on the American, Asian and African continents and, therefore, there is also heritage with influences from these countries, namely Spain, France, England or Holland. This means that, in addition to the 11 patrimonial assets listed, there is a diversity of others attesting to the Portuguese presence in the world, but they are not of Portuguese origin.


Listing by continent


Centro Histórico de Olinda

Is a historic city in the Pernambuco, Brazil and one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil. Olinda features a number of major tourist attractions, such as a historic downtown area, churches, and the Carnival of Olinda, a popular street party, very similar to traditional Portuguese carnivals, with the addition of African influenced dances. All the festivities are celebrated on the streets. There are hundreds of small musical groups in many genres.

Centro Histórico de Olinda


Centro Histórico de São Salvador

Is a historic neighborhood in western Salvador, Bahia. It was the city’s center during the Portuguese colonial period and was named for the whipping post in its central plaza where African slaves received punishment for various infractions, as well as for disciplinary purposes. The Historic Center is extremely rich in historical monuments.

Centro Histórico de São Salvador


Centro Histórico de Goiás

It is the former capital of the state and preserves much of its colonial heritage. It was founded by the famed Bandeirante explorer Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva and was called in colonial times Vila Boa de Goyaz. It has a great historic importance.

Centro Histórico de Goiás


Centro Histórico de Diamantina

Or Arraial do Tijuco, as Diamantina was first called, was built during the colonial era in the early 18th century. As its name suggests, Diamantina was a center of diamond mining in the 18th and 19th centuries. A great example of Brazilian Baroque architecture.

Centro Histórico de Diamantina


Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos or The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos

An architectural and landscaped complex formed by a church, a churchyard and six adjoining chapels, located in the Brazilian municipality of Congonhas, in the state of Minas Gerais. The church is an important and good example of the colonial architecture.



Cidade Portuguesa de Mazagão

Was a Portuguese possession in Morocco, in North Africa, which gave birth to the present town of El Jadida. The Portuguese monuments that have survived are the cistern, the old fortification and ramparts – an early example of the Portuguese military architecture of the Renaissance – and the Manueline Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.


Cidade Velha or Old City

It’s located in the southern part of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. Founded in 1462, it is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde and its former capital. This town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics.Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture.

Cidade Velha


Ilha de Moçambique or The Island of Mozambique

Is situated in northern Mozambique. It’s one of Mozambique’s fastest growing tourist destinations. It was the capital of colonial Portuguese East Africa. The Portuguese established a port and naval base in 1507 and built the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte in 1522, now considered the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere.




Igrejas e Conventos de Goa or Churches and convents of Old Goa

Is the name given by UNESCO to a set of religious monuments located in Goa Velha (or Old Goa), in Goa, India. Goa was the capital of Portuguese India and Asia and an evangelization center from the XVI century. (1986)

Goa Church


Centro Histórico de Macau or Historic Centre of Macao

Is a collection of over twenty locations that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau. It represents the architectural legacies of the city’s cultural heritage, including monuments such as urban squares, streetscapes, churches and temples. (2005)

Centro Histórico de Macau