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History & Politics of Portugal
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, and is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, are also part of Portugal.
Portugal has witnessed a constant flow of different civilizations during the past 3,100 years, including Greek, Roman, Germanic, Moorish and others, who all made an imprint on the country's culture, history, language and ethnic make-up. During the 15th and 16th centuries, its vast transcontinental empire made Portugal one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers. Nowadays, Portugal is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1986 and a Eurozone founding member that launched the single currency in 1999.
Portugal is a democratic republic ruled by the Constitution of 1976.
The four main organs of Portuguese politics are the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the Government, and the Courts. The Constitution grants the complete separation between the three powers: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
Historical & Tourist Attractions in Portugal
There are two famous seaside resorts close to the capital. Estoril predates the tourist boom of the 1960s but has adapted well to changing tastes and demands. The elegant hotels, which fringe the glorious Tamariz Beach, maintain the standards of the pre-war era. The entertainment on offer includes a casino, restaurants and nightclubs, watersports, golf and riding. Cascais has changed even more quickly, from a small fishing village with fine but empty beaches to a lively resort with bars, nightclubs and good-value restaurants. Sintra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a mountain town 25km (15 miles) from Lisbon, boasts the former summer residence of the Portuguese royal family, the Monserrate gardens and a twice-monthly antique market. A classical music festival takes place every July and August. Colares is an attractive village, famous for its red wines. Queluz has an 18th-century rococo palace, supposedly modeled on Versailles. Mafra is home to a Baroque convent built in 1717. Ericeira and Sesimbra are busy fishing villages with good beaches and developing facilities for tourists. Tróia is a modern tourist complex, situated on a peninsula near to the industrial town of Setubal, with a casino, marina, good beaches and sports facilities. The village of Palmela has a 12th-century castle and monastery, which is now a pousada . There is a wine festival here in September. The shrine at Fátima has been an important center of Roman Catholic pilgrimage since 1917 when the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of children. Torchlight processions are held annually on May 13 and October 13. Battle Abbey (Mosteiro de Santa Maria) in Batalha is a UNESCO World Heritage Site