Its great success has come about by housing one of the most important sets of military miniatures in the world. The Military Museum is the property of the Portuguese armed forces and was created for the task of preserving the country’s military history. Opened in 1980 by the then President of the Republic Ramalho Eanes, it is in three parts. On the ground floor there is a wide selection of uniforms and weapons from the 19th century. On the patio there are armoured vehicles, cannons, tanks, and artillery of various kinds, together with a collection of firearms from the 15th to the 20th centuries. This floor covers the historical evolution of court weaponry, along with exhibiting a collection of firearms from different eras. It is on the first floor where perhaps the strangest exhibits are to be found: a magnificent collection of miniature soldiers in lead of armies from all four corners of the globe, from pre-historic times to the present day. These miniatures add up to the trifling total of 16,000 pieces, where attention is given to the slightest detail on every one of them. The building now used by the museum was built at the end of the 19th century as the residence of Doña María de Coímbra. During the Spanish Civil War it was used for housing nuns, and it was purchased in 1948 by the Portuguese state to be the headquarters of the secret police in Porto. Note that entry is free on Wednesdays; all information on entry prices and opening hours can be checked out on: http://www.exercito.pt/sites/MusMilPORTO/Paginas/default.aspx.
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