Monsanto, Lisbon's Lungs
Named for our oldest village in Northern Portugal, Monsanto Park is a forest spanning about 2000 acres. Inspired by an idea from the late 1800s, Duarte Pacheco, State Secretary for Public Works, reforested the barren hilltop in 1934. Pine trees dominate a landscape that represents Portugal’s natural forest, with the oak, cork-oak, holm-oak tree and other native plants. Squirrels, long extinct in Portugal, were recently reintroduced into Monsanto Park, adding their chatter to bird song and the sighs of breezes among the trees. The expanse of protected forest supports the city’s climatic balance, freeing it from pollution. Viewing points take your breath away as you look out over Lisbon, perhaps spread a blanket and have a lunch or read a book. Many smaller park zones have been created within Monsanto, among them that of Serafina, providing hours of adventure for the little ones. Restaurants, viewpoints, children’s playgrounds, swimming-pools, a horse-riding center, fitness courses, footpaths, and other attractions make Monsanto an oasis of relaxation.
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