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17 Facts You May Not Know About Portugal:
1. Portugal is home to Europe's westernmost point, Cabo da Roca, located near Lisbon. It's not just a picturesque spot but also holds historical significance as it marks the edge of the European continent.
2.The University of Coimbra, established in 1290, is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Its Joanina Library, built in the 18th century, is renowned for its exquisite Baroque style and houses thousands of ancient books.
3. Portuguese is the official language of not only Portugal but also of Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe, making it one of the most widely spoken languages globally.
4. Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, is famous for its production of port wine. The wine is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley and aged in cellars along the Douro River before being shipped from Porto.
5. Portugal is the world's largest cork producer and exporter, with much of its cork harvested from the cork oak trees that blanket the country's landscape.
6. The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is one of the longest bridges in Europe, spanning the Tagus River at a length of over 17 kilometers (about 11 miles). It's named after the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
7. Portugal's Algarve region boasts some of Europe's most stunning beaches, attracting millions of tourists each year. However, beyond its beaches, the region also offers picturesque fishing villages, dramatic cliffs, and a rich cultural heritage.
8. The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, is composed of nine volcanic islands. It's a paradise for nature lovers, offering unique landscapes, hot springs, and opportunities for whale watching.
9. Portugal is home to one of the world's oldest bookshops, Livraria Bertrand, which opened its doors in 1732 in Lisbon. It holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest operating bookstore.
10. The Portuguese love their seafood, and one of their traditional dishes is "Bacalhau à Brás," a flavorful combination of salted cod, onions, potatoes, and eggs.
11. The country has a rich tradition of fado music, characterized by its soulful melodies and melancholic lyrics. It's often performed in intimate settings known as "fado houses," particularly in Lisbon's historic neighborhoods.
12. The Alentejo region in southern Portugal is known for its vast cork oak forests, rolling plains, and medieval hilltop towns. It's a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering visitors a glimpse into traditional Portuguese culture.
13. Portugal has a long history of seafaring exploration, with renowned explorers like Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, and Bartolomeu Dias. Their voyages played a significant role in shaping world history during the Age of Discovery.
14. The Portuguese town of Óbidos is famous for its well-preserved medieval walls and picturesque streets. It's also known for its annual chocolate festival, where visitors can indulge in a variety of chocolate treats.
15. Portugal has a rich tradition of ceramic tiles, known as azulejos, which adorn buildings, churches, and palaces across the country. These intricately designed tiles often depict historical scenes, religious motifs, and geometric patterns.
16. The Tower of Belém, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Lisbon, was built in the early 16th century as a fortress to defend the city's harbor. It's a stunning example of Manueline architecture, adorned with intricate carvings and maritime symbols.
17. Portugal is one of the sunniest countries in Europe, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year on average. Its mild climate, combined with its diverse landscapes, makes it an ideal destination for outdoor activities year-round.

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