10 Things You Should Know About Portugal

The place is one of the oldest nations of Europe and the main cork producer in the world

By Google Arts & Culture

Maritime and country scene (1725/1750)National Azulejo Museum

Portugal has been in the spotlight of travel agencies for years. Its amazing gastronomy, rich culture, friendly citizens, and sunny weather throughout the year make people fall in love for one of the oldest countries in Europe.

Let's explore the main things to know about Portugal!

Wild Orphan (2014-10-12) by TAMARA ALVESWOOL | Covilhã Urban Art Festival

An earthquake almost destroyed Lisbon entirely

During the Holy celebration of All Saints' Day, in 1755, Lisbon was hit by an earthquake that contemporary studies believe to last between 3 to 6 minutes. The tremor was followed by a tsunami and an unproportional fire.

Works in the vineyard II (2015) by Francisco VidinhaFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Portugal is the largest producer of corks

If you like wine, you know the importance of the cork to the world. Besides preserving the liquid, cork can be used in hundreds of ways. That's why the biggest cork's importers from the country are Germany, UK, and the USA.  

This old industry was a great reference in its production.


The Japanese dish Tempurá was a Portuguese creation

Yes, that is right. It sounds unconventional, but Portuguese traders of the 16th century were the ones that brought the technique to Japan. Deep fry fish in an egg batter was common since the 13th century in Portugal and Spain. Soon the delicacy was locally incorporated.

View of Praia Grande, Macao (mid of 19th century) by unknown authorMuseu do Oriente

Portuguese is the official language of 8 countries

Also spoken in some regions, like Macau in China.It is believed that 270 million people speak the language, making it the 6th most spoken language in the world and the 1st in the South Hemisphere.

Passion of Portuguese Language

The oldest bookstore in the world

The history of Bertrand bookstore goes back to 1732, when it first started operations. The location was changed several times, especially because the 1755 earthquake destroyed the physical stores, but the owners managed to open it again in the Baixa region.

Portrait of Amália Rodrigues (1949) by Eduardo MaltaMuseu do Caramulo

They have fado!

Fado music is a form of Portuguese singing that dates back to the 1820s and can often be heard in pubs, cafes, and restaurants. It can be described by using the Portuguese word “saudade”, which means “longing” and stands for a feeling of loss and melancholy.

Custard tarts in Indonesia (2014) by Andreia Nogueira/LUSAObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Pastéis de nata were created in the 13th century

The famous Portuguese delicacy was created by monks from Jerónimos Monastery inspired by French pastries. As they used the egg whites to starch clothing, they created an egg custard to be served with a puff pastry. After the Liberal Revolution, they sold the recipe to a store!

Mark Richards (1976) by John WitzigNational Portrait Gallery

It has the biggest waves for surfing

The biggest wave ever surfed was here in Nazaré. The Brazilian Maya Gabeira has broken her own Guinness World Records title in 2020, surfing a wave with 22.4 meters high.

Wine barrels. House of Santo (2016) by Maria Leonor BotelhoFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Porto wine is the most famous local export

The vinho do Porto is considered a local treasure, having the vineyards which produce it certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is a fortified wine that was pretty popular in England during the 18th century.

Chart of Juan de la Cosa (1500) by Juan de la CosaOriginal Source: Museo Naval Madrid.

It is the oldest nation in Europe

Its borders were set in 1139 CE, making it the first country in the continent. 

Also, Lisbon is even older than Rome, making it the 2nd oldest capital in Europe just after Athens.

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