Oporto

Portugal in less than 700 words

Portugal is a country as curious as it is attractive a destination to visit. It is much more ancient than you might think, and has a result has become rich in history, culture, tradition, as well as some fairly outlandish feats and traditions. The following words detail some interesting things you probably didn’t know about Portugal

1) First established as a country in the 12th century, Portugal has had the same defined borders since 1139, making it the oldest nation in Europe.

Límite Zero

2) The world’s only international zipline stretches between two villages; one in Portugal and the other in Spain. Creator of the ‘Límite Zero’ David Jarman said, “Two villages in two countries, separated by a river 150 metres wide, a zipline just seemed obvious to me.”

3) In the early 18th century, the English turned to Portugal to supply them with wine, on account of them fighting a war with France. Wine however could not last the voyage without going off, and was fortified with brandy. The beverage thence became known as Porto, or Port. Also, over half the world’s cork production is sourced form Portugal.

Pastéis de nata

4) Portugal is famous for its pastry making. Pastéis de nata, one of the most popular, were first made in the 17th century when monks used leftover egg yolks (from starching their habits) to create sweet cakes and pastries. These were sold to passsersby outside the monasteries to generate a little extra revenue.

5) According to the Guinness Book of World Records, and perhaps contrary to popular belief, S.L. Benfica is the world’s most widely supported football club.

Vasco da Gama Bridge

6) The world record for the largest dining table was set when around 16.000 guests were served lunch at a five kilometre-long table on the Vasco da Gama bridge (largest of it’s kind in Europe). The event was staged by a washing liquid company that promised to do the subsequent washing up using a mere litre of its new product.

7) Portugal’s weather is known as the hottest in Europe, with nearly 3.000 sunny hours per year. The oppressive weather conditions are usually seen as a reasonable excuse to not show up for work.

Shrine of Fatima

8) The shrine of Fatima is a poplar pilgrimage spot for Christian communities and, in terms of volume of visiting pilgrims, it is second only to Rome in Europe. Fatima receives four to five million pilgrims a year.

9) From 1808 to 1821, and after Napoleon invaded the country, the capital of Portugal was Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

10) Portugal saw the first ever flight of a hot air balloon. In 1709, a Brazilian priest elevated himself four meters above the ground in front of King John V and the Portuguese court in Lisbon. However, at that time the notion of a flying man was so preposterous that the priest was accused of witchcraft and consequently persecuted.

Gorreana Tea Plantation

11) Europe’s only tea plantation, Gorreana, is found amidst the mild climate of the island of São Miguel, in the Azores. The climate contributes to the tea’s outstanding flavor.

12) Portugal is “Pottery Heaven”: Regional pottery from Portugal shows up in gourmet shops like Williams-Sonoma because of its high quality and style. Check out “Provençal Platters” or “Alhambra Platters” at that store, just two examples of regional styles, which can also include the fine porcelain of Vista Alegre, the earthen colors of Redondo, and the black pottery of the Beiras region.

Touriga Nacional

13) Forget Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon-how about some new grapes? Fresh, complex and unique, distinctly Portuguese grapes include Touriga Nacional, CXLTinta RorizCXL, Loureiro, Alvarinho, Bical, Arinto, Síria, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Castelão and Baga.

14) Portugal has about 852 km of sandy beaches, all on the Atlantic and all inviting.

The Manueline architecture of Tower of Belém

15) Portugal has its own architectural style, the Manueline, which was popular from 1498 to 1540, and transcended Gothic and Mannerist styles.

We found that somebody did the same thing in video form. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.
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