Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The official and national language is Portuguese.
Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. Portugal as a country was established and founded in 868.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global maritime and commercial empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (1488), Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of what would become Brazil (1500). During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castile, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia.
After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution (1974), ending the Portuguese Colonial War. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China (1999) marked the end of what can be considered one of the longest-lived colonial empires.
Portugal has left a profound cultural, architectural and linguistic influence across the globe, with a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles. It is a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is highly placed in rankings of moral freedom, peacefulness, democracy, press freedom, stability, social progress, and prosperity.
Porto or Oporto, the second-largest city in Portugal
Porto or Oporto is the second-largest city in Portugal and one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas. Porto city is small compared to its metropolitan area, it is recognized as a gamma-level global city and the only Portuguese city besides Lisbon to be recognized as a global city.
Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, as "Historic Centre of Porto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar". The historic area is also a National Monument of Portugal. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name Portugal. In Portuguese, the name of the city includes a definite article: o Porto ("the port"), which is where its English name "Oporto" comes from.
Port wine, one of Portugal's most famous exports, is named after Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport, and export of fortified wine. Port wine, an internationally renowned wine, is widely accepted as the dessert wine. Port wine is present in the city in a multitude of forms and sensations: you can get to know it and try it, but never ignore or forget it!
Besides Port wine, the city is well known for her architectural buildings such as the Porto Cathedral (the oldest surviving structure), the small Romanesque Church of Cedofeita, the gothic Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), the remnants of the city walls and a few 15th-century houses
Porto is home to a number of dishes from traditional Portuguese cuisine. A typical dish from this city is Tripas à Moda do Porto (Tripes Porto style). Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (cod in the style Gomes de Sá). The Francesinha is the most famous popular native snack food in Porto. It is a kind of sandwich with several meats covered with cheese and a special sauce made with beer and other ingredients.
In 2014 and 2017, Porto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency. Setting out to discover Porto means bumping into surprise after surprise. Whilst maintaining its welcoming and conservative nature, the city is, at the same time, contemporary and creative. This can be seen in its streets, its architectures, its museums, its leisure spaces, its esplanades and its shopping areas which run from the traditional to the modern and exclusive.
10 THINGS TO DO IN PORTO:
Porto has to be not just seen, but experienced! Take your time, get lost in the historic centre, explore the museums, enjoy our culinary talent and throw yourself into the bustling nightlife.
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