This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Nearly four hectares of manicured land make up The Botanical Garden of Porto, or Jardim Botânico do Porto. This famous garden is part of the Campo Alegre Estate or “Casa dos Andresen”, and is located in the city of Porto, Portugal.
The garden’s history begins with a French fine hat maker named Pierre Salabert. Salabert purchased the land in 1802. The estate would be confiscated in 1820 following the French Invasions. The property was then relinquished to João José da Costa and Arnaldo Ribeiro Barbosa.
An education reform introduced by Passos Manuel in 1836 had led to the creation of a Botanical Garden in the vicinity of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto, more precisely near the walls of the extinct Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo dos Carmelitas Descalcos, where the National Guard is today. The proposal commissioned because the Faculty of Science of the University of Porto was struggling from a lack a space for learning environments.
By 1975 João Silva Monteiro acquired the property and decided to demolish the old dwelling, and erected the Quinta do Campo Alegre in its place. In 1895, Joao Henrique Andresen purchased the Campo Alegre Estate. This Port wine dealer would later recuperate the gardens of the estate in the romantic style that was popular at that time.
Two members of the Andresen family who lived at the estate were flourishing young writers. As a result, the stories by famous writers Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Ruben Andresene would hold many of their memories from the gardens. Their younger writings also contain a unique historic record of the evolution of the gardens.
The property was acquired by the State in 1949 and two years later it was renamed Porto Botanical Garden, being integrated in the University of Porto and administered by the Faculty of Sciences “Botanical Institute”. The current head of the Botanical Garden is the landscape architect Teresa Andresen, who is a descendent of the former owners of the estate.
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