12 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PORTUGAL

Portugal is a country in south western Europe whose territory includes the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and Azores. It borders just one country, Spain.

Portugal is known for many things. To football lovers, it is known as the home to ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’, one of the greatest footballers in history. Portugal is also one of the oldest countries in the world. It is a top surfing destination and many more. In this post, am going to tell you 12 other interesting things about Portugal.

1. THE OLDEST BOOKSTORE IN THE WORLD IS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL’S CAPITAL

Livraria Bentrand, Lisbon, Portugal.

The Livraria Bentrand bookstore established in 1732 holds the record for the oldest bookstore. For 290 years, it has been a hub for intelects and bibliophiles. If you are a book lover, why not visit Livraria Bentrand. It is located at Atlas obscura.

2. PORTUGAL IS THE LARGEST CORK PRODUCER IN THE WORLD

Harvesting of the cork
Cork

With over 50% of the world’s cork being produced in Portugal, Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer. It also has the largest area of cork in the world. Cork is one of Portugal’s biggest exports. The vast majority of this is made into wine bottle stoppers but, increasingly, more and more cork is being sold to the construction and fashion industries and even to the space industry. With 40 million wine stoppers being produced in Portugal each day, it is very likely that when you open a wine, the stopper is from Portugal. Cork has other uses apart from wine stopping. Among the many products made from cork are flooring materials (e.g., linoleum), shoe insoles, roofing panels, gaskets, safety helmet liners, ceilings and walls as insulation, dartboards, bulletin boards, and cores for golf balls and baseballs.

3. IMPORTANT LIBRARIES IN PORTUGAL EMPLOYS BATS TO PROTECT BOOKS.

The Portuguese are such book lovers. Libraries can be found every where in the country, some of these libraries house ancient books. Insects, though, are a problem. So, bats are employed to eat the insects at night. Biblioteca Joanina, the library at the University of Coimbra, and the Mafra Palace Library each house massive colonies of bats that patrol the buildings at night.

4. THE LONGEST AND SHORTEST- AND LONGEST- REIGNING. MONARCHS

Afonso I Henrique of Portugal (1112-1185)
Prince Luís Filipe of Portugal

Portugal holds the record for the shortest and longest-reigning monarchs in Europe. Henrique of Portugal was the king of Portugal for more than 73 years.  Luis Filipe, on the other hand, was king for only 20 minutes. He also share the record for the shortest reigning monarch in the world with Louis Antoine of France.

5. COFFEE TIME

The Portuguese are such coffee lovers they even have coffee time, this culture they introduced to England. Portuguese don’t joke with their coffee time. ‘Um café ‘ an empresso is very popular.

6. ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY IS IN PORTUGAL.

Universidade de Coimbra

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in the world, so, it isn’t surprising that they house one of the world’s oldest university, University of Coimbra established in the year 1290 is one of the oldest university in the world . The university is among the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest in Portugal, and played an influential role in the development of higher education in the Portuguese-speaking world. In 2013, UNESCO declared the university a World Heritage Site, noting its architecture, unique culture and traditions, and historical role.

7. A PORTUGUESE EXPLORER WAS THE FIRST TO CIRCUMVENT THE WORLD.

Ferdinand Magellan (4th February 1480-27 April 1521)

Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães) was the first man to sail around the world. He was from Portugal. Surprisingly, this famous expedition was sponsored by the Spanish royal house. He renounced his Portuguese citizenship in 1517 and moved to Spain.

8. OUR LADY OF FÁTIMA.

The sanctuary of our lady of Fátima.

Fátima, a small town in Portugal, is a hot spot for Christian pilgrimages. The civil parish has been permanently associated with the apparitions of Virgin Mary that were purportedly witnessed by three local shepherd children at the Cova da Iria in 1917. Some 4 million people visit here each year making it one of most visited pilgrimage sites for Christians.

9. UNESCO HERITAGE SITES.

Pena palace
Belém tower
Douro valley

Portugal is home to some 17 world heritage sites with 19 more on the tentative list. 16 of these 17 sites are all cultural sites. One site, the Laurisilva, is located in the island of Madeira and is Portugal’s only natural site; the other sites are cultural. Two sites are located in the Azores archipelago. The Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde is shared with Spain, making it Portugal’s only transnational site.

10. PORTUGAL IS THE MOST WESTERNMOST POINT OF EUROPE

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca or Cape Roca is a cape which forms the westernmost point of the Sintra mountain range of mainland Portugal. Cabo da Roca is at the end of a 30 mile stretch of the coast known as the Portuguese Riviera, 40 km from Lisbon. It is a marvelous sight to behold and it receives thousands of visitors each year.

11. HOME OF PORT WINE.

Port wine, also as known “vinho do Porto” (Portuguese) or simply port is a fortified wine produced in Douro of northern Portugal valley. It is a sweet red wine, often served with dessert. Port wine is sweeter, richer, heavier and higher in alcoholic content than unfortified wines. Port-styled wines are produced in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Spain, and the United States, but under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines, only wines from Portugal are allowed to be labelled “port”.

12. PORTUGAL IS HIGHLY FOCUSED ON RENEWABLE ENERGY.

Portugal, a country that used to rely heavily on coal is now highly focused on renewable energy. In fact, in 2015, the whole country ran for four consecutive days on renewable energy. Renewable energy does have a bright future in Portugal.

Portugal is indeed a wonderful place. Are you a surfer, a book or wine loveror you are just looking for a vacation destination, why not visit Portugal.

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4 thoughts on “12 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PORTUGAL

  1. Indeed these are interesting facts about Portugal , I was surprised that the world’s oldest university is located in Portugal plus the port wine and the coffee time facts are news to me. How I wish to visit Portugal one day and witness these things myself🙌🙌

    Liked by 1 person

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