Bacalhôa Buddha Eden: the largest oriental garden in Europe!
More than a sightseeing excursion, the Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is a place for those who want to enjoy moments of tranquility and peace. That’s right, when you go through the gates and start walking in the garden this is the feeling that you will surely feel, peace!
Some people say it’s a “touristy thing” but as I love being a tourist I found the garden beautiful and I recommend a visit. It is about 35 hectares full of buddhas, terracotta warriors, lakes, fish, exotic plants and several sculptures carefully-placed in strategic places in the middle of the vegetation.
Built in protest against the destruction of the Bamyan Giant Buddhas in Afghanistan (2001), Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is considered the largest oriental garden in Europe.
Just by curiosity, the statues of the Bamiyan Buddha were erected 230 km from the city of Kabul in Afghanistan. One was 37m high and the other 55m. These are considered the largest standing Buddha statues in the world.
With the spread of radical fundamentalist customs in Afghanistan, clerics in March 2001 declared: “Based on the verdict of clergy members and the decision of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirates (Taliban) all statues in Afghanistan must be destroyed. They are respected now and may become idols in the future. Only Allah, the Almighty, deserves to be worshiped. “*
Despite numerous demonstrations around the world, the statues of the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed with dynamite and tank bombing in March 2001.
About Bacalhôa Buddha Eden
The Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is located in Quinta dos Loridos, which is a few kilometers from the villages of Bombarral and Óbidos. With a total area of 100 hectares, the farm – which is dedicated to the production of wines – has reserved about 35 hectares for the construction of this huge garden. It’s estimated that more than 6,000 tons of marble and granite were used to build the place.
The Bacalhôa Buddha Eden, also known as Peace Garden, offers a very good infrastructure for the tourist. If you like to walk, the Garden is the perfect place. But if you do not have much time for the visit or if you prefer the comfort of a carriage, you can choose to use the little train (or “comboio”) that circulates throughout the garden.
If you like wines, you can enjoy the wine tastings of the locally produced Bacalhôa’s vinyards. They take place from Monday to Friday and are conducted either in the old cellar in the garden of the main house of the Quinta dos Loridos or in the wine shop. You must be booked in advance.
The Garden has several attractions (see map below). We try to show you each of them below.
The first stop where you certainly will stop for a beautiful photo is Palm Lake.
Garden of the Modern and Contemporary Sculpture (Garden of the Modern Art)
The garden of Modern and Contemporary Sculpture is a space to appreciate modern art. Several pieces by well-known artists such as Joana Vasconcelos, Alexander Calder, Fernando Botero, Tony Cragg, Lynn Chadwick and Allen Jones are exposed in the garden amidst the plants in a sort of open-air gallery. Some works are replaced from time to time.
Bambu Labyrinth and African Sculpture Garden
In the African Sculpture Art Garden there are more than 200 sculptures arranged among the more than 1000 palm trees. The Garden is dedicated to the Shona people of Zimbabwe, who for over a thousand years have carved stone by hand into works of art. They believe in ancestral spirits known as “Vadzimu” and their sculptures demonstrate the union of the two worlds: physical and spiritual.
For these artists, each stone has a living spirit which influences what it will become. Their work, therefore, is to “free the spirit from the stone.”
Xian Warriors in Terracota
There are 700 hand-painted terracotta warriors in the garden. Some of them are buried. In addition to an area reserved exclusively for the Xian Warriors, they are also in another part of the Garden, near the Fire lookout.
Staircase of the Golden Buddhas and the Giant Buddha (21 mts)
The golden Buddhas are located in the central staircase of the garden. I confess that this is the part of the garden that is really enchanting. You have the feeling of being teleported to another dimension. It is not only the grandeur of the statues, but it’s the sense of tranquility that the environment transmits to you. Very interesting!
How to get to Bacalhôa Buddha Eden?
By car: The garden is approximately 96Km from Lisbon. Follow the A8. Take exit 12 (Carvalhal / Delgada). Then turn left on the first fork in the road. Continue until you reach a roundabout then take the second exit. Soon after that you will see arrows pointing the way to the Buddha Eden.
GPS coordenates: 39°16’33.24″N | 9° 8’24.23″O
By Public Transportation: the company Rodotejo offers transport from Lisbon to Bombarral. The trip last at about 45 minutes and the bus (autocarro, in Portuguese) leaves Campo Grande Bus Station. From Bombarral take a taxi or walk, the garden is located just 3Km from the city.
Where to stay?
There are not many lodging options in the city of Bombarral. When we went there we stayed at Comendador Hotel, a simple hotel but close to both Buddha Eden and Óbidos. In the city there is also the Live Oeste Hotel.
Important Garden Informations
- Operation of the Garden, shop and restaurant: every day, except on January 1st and December 25th;
- Timetable: from 09h to 18h (last entry at 17h30);
- Tickets: Garden – 3 € (VAT included) Train – 3 € (VAT included);
- Children up to and including 12 years old do not pay entrance.
Websites and articles about the Garden on the Web
If you have more time in that area go to Óbidos Lagoon, a very nice place near the Buddha Eden.
Fonte: Eduardo Faust em Obviusmag.org http://lounge.obviousmag.org/arquitetura_do_sagrado/2013/07/a-triste-historia-dos-budas-de-bamiyan.html