1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bussaco, Serra de

BUSSACO (or Busaco), SERRA DE, a mountain range on the frontiers of the Aveiro, Coimbra, and Vizeu districts of Portugal, formerly included in the province of Beira. The highest point in the range is the Ponta de Bussaco (1795 ft.), which commands a magnificent view over the Serra da Estrella, the Mondego valley and the Atlantic Ocean. Luso (pop. 1661), a village celebrated for its hot mineral springs, is the nearest railway station, on the Guarda-Figueira da Foz line, which skirts the northern slopes of the Serra. Towards the close of the 19th century the Serra de Bussaco became one of the regular halting-places for foreign, and especially for British, tourists, on the overland route between Lisbon and Oporto. Its hotel, built in the Manoellian style—a blend of Moorish and Gothic—encloses the buildings of a secularized Carmelite monastery, founded in 1268. The convent woods, now a royal domain, have long been famous for their cypress, plane, evergreen oak, cork and other forest trees, many of which have stood for centuries and attained an immense size. A bull of Pope Gregory XV. (1623), anathematizing trespassers and forbidding women to approach, is inscribed on a tablet at the main entrance; another bull, of Urban VIII. (1643), threatens with excommunication any person harming the trees. In 1873 a monument was erected, on the southern slopes of the Serra, to commemorate the battle of Bussaco, in which the French, under Marshal Masséna, were defeated by the British and Portuguese, under Lord Wellington, on the 27th of September 1810.