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For centuries, the history of Portugal has captivated people around the world. From its unique blend of cultures, to its stunning landscapes, Portugal has something to offer everyone.

This blog article, will provide a brief overview of Portugal’s history, from its founding to its modern-day status. We’ll look at the major events and figures that shaped this beautiful country, and take a closer look at the many attractions that make Portugal a must-visit destination.

A brief history of Portugal

The carnivals

Carnival is an important part of Portuguese history and culture. Celebrated around the world, Portugal has been hosting its own Carnival celebrations since the Middle Ages. This colourful celebration is a great way to celebrate the end of winter and welcome the warmer months ahead. The festivities typically involve vibrant parades, costumes, and music that fill the streets with joy and excitement. In the days leading up to Lent, most of the Portuguese towns have their own Carnival celebrations.

From the north to the south of the country, there are plenty of opportunities to join in the celebrations. Every year, Ovar welcomes thousands of people to their vibrant Carnival, one of the largest celebrations in Portugal. An exciting weekend of singing, dancing and general revelry fills the streets with joy and merriment.


The food

Portuguese cuisine is a reflection of the country’s history. Positioned between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, Portugal’s cuisine has been profoundly shaped by its geography and rich history. Crafting recipes from fresh, flavourful ingredients, Portuguese dishes prioritize quality over quantity. Many classic dishes have a Moorish influence and include lots of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and saffron.

The most iconic Portuguese dish is bacalhau, or salted codfish. This dish dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese discovered cod in Newfoundland, Canada and brought it back to Portugal. Preparations for this dish range widely, from hot to cold and beyond. Other famous dishes include Francesinha (a spicy sandwich), Caldo Verde (a soup of potatoes, greens and sausage) and Arroz de Pato (duck rice).

In Portugal, you will find many pastries and cakes that are unique to the country. The Pastel de Nata is a creamy custard tart that has been around since the 18th century. It is often served with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Another popular sweet treat is the Travesseiro de Sintra, a pillow-shaped puff pastry filled with almond paste.

Portugal also has an array of delicious wines that pair perfectly with the food. In fact, the country has a long history of winemaking dating back to the Romans. From full-bodied reds to sparkling whites, there is a wide selection for every taste.

Whether you prefer savoury or sweet, Portugal’s traditional dishes are sure to tantalise your taste buds and give you an insight into the nation’s rich Portuguese history.


The architecture

Portugal’s architecture is as varied and diverse as its history. From the classical Moorish styles to Baroque and Neo-classical, Portugal has a wide range of architectural styles to explore.

Under the reign of King Manuel I (1495-1521), the Manueline style of architecture was introduced to Portugal, making it one of the most recognizable architectural styles of the region. The style combined Gothic, Renaissance, and Moorish elements, with symbols of Portugal’s imperial past such as armillary spheres, ropes and anchors, shells, and crosses of the Order of Christ. Some well-known examples of Manueline architecture are Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower and the Convent of Christ in Tomar.

As the Portuguese Empire began to expand, the Baroque style became popular in the country. The Portuguese were in a period of prosperity which led to a heightened level of religious architecture and ostentatious palaces crafted by affluent families of the aristocracy. An example of Baroque architecture is the Torre dos Clérigos in Porto.

In addition to the Baroque style, Neo-classical architecture was also popular in Portugal, particularly in the late 19th century. The style is characterized by its symmetrical design, minimal ornamentation and use of columns. An example of Neo-classical architecture can be seen in many parts of Portugal such as Lisbon’s Rossio Square.

If you’re fascinated by Moorish architecture, Baroque design, or Neo-classicism, you’ll find a lot to admire in Portugal’s remarkable architecture. From antiquity to modernity, the country’s buildings bear witness to its unique history.


The wine

Portugal has a long and rich history of wine production, dating back thousands of years. Vinho Verde and Port are two of the most esteemed wines to come out of the area, renowned for its winemaking. Portugal has an incredibly diverse selection of grape varieties, each with their own unique characteristics and flavours. This makes it one of the best places to find unique and interesting wines. For centuries, Portuguese wines have been intertwined with the nation’s culture and sense of self, evidenced in the distinctivevinification’ methods employed across the different areas.

The Douro Valley is particularly famous for its port production and is considered one of the most beautiful regions in all of Europe. The quality of Portuguese wines has made them a popular choice for export and for international connoisseurs. Due to its extensive heritage, Portuguese winemaking is deeply cherished and celebrated by its citizens. It is an iconic aspect of the country’s culture that serves as a source of national pride.


The scenery

Portugal’s gorgeous scenery and incredible views have earned it renown across the globe. The country’s many mountains, rivers, and forests are a sight to behold. Portugal’s beaches are world-famous and the country also has many islands, including the Azores, which are volcanic in nature.

The scenery of Portugal has been deeply shaped by its history. When the country was part of the Roman Empire, for instance, the Romans built walls and roads throughout the area, and many of these remain today. In more recent times, Portuguese explorers sailed around the world, discovering new lands and forging trade links with other countries. This spirit of exploration has left its mark on Portuguese history and culture – something you can still see in the country’s spectacular scenery today.


Speak to an expert

If you’re ready to travel to Portugal then why not contact RHJ Law today who can help you to plan your trip. If you want to learn more about Portugal then why not read our blogs about ‘Life in Portugal’?

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