Alcobaça, Portugal

Alcobaça is a municipal district and town about 100 kilometres north of Lisbon. In the 12th century it was chosen as the site of Portugal’s largest church and this is what the town is best know for, more about the church in a future post.  Alcobaça is a delightful town, where I had lunch after visiting a local factory. 

 Atlantis Crystal is said to be one of the finest handmade crystals in the world and I had a guided tour of the factory in Alcobaça, where it is made. Founded in 1944 as Alcobaça Crystals, producing chandeliers and glasses for domestic use, and then in the early 1970s it started producing high quality hand made glass.

The factory has an aerial walkway for visitors to watch the craftsmen (there were no women) at work. Using moulds made of wood and steel, and blow rods, the highly skilled artisans produce some of the worlds finest lead crystal.  The high standards of quality control mean many pieces are discarded by experts, who find flaws not seen by an untrained eye, this glass is used in the production of sandpaper. The factory was very noisy and extremely hot. 

By the time I’d finished the guided tours the sun was setting and it was time to head home.

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