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Portuguese Regions

Montanhas

In the heart of the country, descending towards the Tagus, lies a mountainous and beautiful region. Local dances and singing have a strong Celtic influence and festivities and processions combine the pagan heritage with old Christian rituals. To South we can find SERRA DA ESTRELA, a resort for practicing winter sports and the place where the delicious cheese (queijo da Serra) is made. Here you can visit some amazing historic villages where time seems to have stoped, such as Almeida, Sortelha, Monsanto, Belmonte, Piodao and Idanha-a-Velha. This region is the ideal place for mountainering, canoering or have a calm rest in a thermal spa. The visitor is offered here a great variety of meats, sausages, cheeses and good wine among a people who still practises a form of communal life and a great hospitality. Among cities you can visit in this region are: BRAGANÇA, a magestic, medieval city where Domus Municipalis is a unic example of civic Romanesque architecture. In CASTELO BRANCO, with a 13th century castle, you can also feel the medieval style. Places to visit here are: Graça Convent (16th-18th centuries), Santo Antonio dos Capuchos Convent (16th century) and Misericordia Velha Church ( 16th-18th centuries). One of the most characteristic images of CHAVES is the Roman bridge, crossing the Tamega river. Among some Romanesque and Baroque monuments like the Mother Church and the Misericordia Church, you can also see the Archeology and Epigraphy Museum. The Walls, the Towers, the old Jewish quarter and the house of D. Joao I, in GUARDA, takes you to the medieval days. Deserving a visit are the Gothic origin Cathedral and the churches of Senhora dos Remedios (16th century), Misericordia (17th century) and Sao Vicente (18th century). In LAMEGO the most impressive image is perhaps the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios with is magnificent Baroque staircase of 686 steps. Plenty of medieval monuments, nearby, in Balsemao you can find a chapel of Suevian-Byzantine origin from 7th century. The ancient Lusitanian settlement of Serra de Penha Garcia can be found at the historic village of MONSANTO. VILA REAL is a town with a great religous architecture diversity. Cathedral and Sao Bras Chapel (Gothic), churches of Sao Pedro and Misericordia (16th century) and Mateus Palace, a Baroque masterpiece are some of the monuments deserving a visit. In VISEU you can see fortifications of the portable campings left by the imperial legions from Rome. Here you must not miss the Grao Vasco Museum with important painting collections and the Romanesque Cathedral.


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