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Heritage and Culture

In the midst of the population or in the depths of Nature, there is written and oral evidence of times of hard work, religious fervour, power and of the expression of man’s senses. From the Palaeolithic to present days, in this region there are traces that will allow you to learn more about the diversity of the history of Mankind.

The Douro is a land of tradition, with a culture that is organically bound to its history, religion, agriculture and to the simplicity of its people. The museums and the more erudite cultural expressions live side by side with the fairs, pilgrimages and adoration of saints.

Sé Catedral de Lamego | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzCastelo de Longroiva | © Vitor OliveiraSantuário Nossa Senhora dos Remédios | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzVisit to church in Carrazeda Ansiães | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzSantuário de Nossa Senhora da Lapa | © TUREL: Guia do Douro ReligiosoMosteiro e Igreja de Salzedas | © TUREL: Guia do Douro ReligiosoView over the Church of Santa Maria de Sendim. | © Melanie AntunesRuins of Almofala in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzPainting in the ceiling of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Lapa | © Melanie AntunesInterior of the Cathedral of Lamego | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzFront of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas | © Douromedia 2010 ContestArab graves Carrazeda Ansiães | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzDetail of the facade of the Church of Santa Maria Sendim | © Melanie AntunesTypical village of the Douro | © Museu do DouroReligious painting elaborated in tile | © Turismo do DouroRuins of Almofala, in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzSé Catedral de Lamego | © Vitor OliveiraImage of Nossa Senhora da Piedade | © Emanuel RochaInside the Church of Salzedas | © Douromedia 2010 ContestBell tower | © Museu do DouroCastelo Melhor | © Miguel MoraisCross drawn on the outside of the Church of Santa Maria Sendim, whose patroness is Nossa Senhora do Pranto. | © Melanie Antunes

Thousands of years ago, Palaeolithic men settled in the area, leaving behind several traces scattered around the region. This heritage is now preserved and may be visited in the Archaeological Park of the Coa Valley, classified in 1988 as World Heritage by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization).

The Romans, the Moors, the Visigoths and the Suevi were also enchanted by these virgin lands. During the Middle Ages, several temples were built influenced by Christianity. As the nobility and the bourgeoisie started coming to this region, the buildings became larger, although purely for housing purposes. Currently, most manors and palaces accommodate tourists throughout the year.

In the museums, you can see wide and varied collections of the most valuable artefacts found in the region. However, the most important element of the Douro heritage is its people, those who have been preserving traditions such as handicraft; those who still cultivate the fertile lands and live in harmony with Nature. Typical expressions of the Douro region are passed down from generation to generation. In the case of Mirandês, which has been spoken in the region for hundreds of years, it has been officially recognized as Portugal's second language, in 1999. In some of the most remote villages, you can still find people who live off their small handicraft businesses, such as shoe, tin and basket makers.

Festivities and pilgrimages go on every year, whether to commemorate religion or simply just for the sake of celebrating and participating in the community’s activities. Portuguese traditional music, local cuisine and Douro wines are always the main characters in these celebrations.

Those who live in the Douro region have a culture of their own, a regional culture that has great consideration for the past and Nature. Walking through some of the oldest streets you will have the feel of travelling through time and you go back dozens or hundreds of years witnessing history.

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