The country of Portugal, is dynamic, beautiful, friendly and full of surprises. It boasts rich history, picturesque villages, golden sands, traditional food and so much more. Besides these, we've got some of the of the most interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Portugal.
- Portugal was first established as a country in the 12th century, making it the oldest nation/state in Europe. It had one of the longest running empires, spanning almost six centuries within the country borders that remained unchanged since 1139.
- The Portuguese language is spoken by about 236 million people worldwide (including 210 million natives) and is the official language in 9 countries: Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea.
- The oldest bookstore in the world is in Portugal’s esteemed capital, Lisbon. Bertrand bookstore was established in 1732 and is still open today.
- Portugal produces 70% of the world’s cork exports, making it the largest cork producer in the world. It is also home to the largest cork forest. Main importers of Portuguese cork are Germany, the UK, and the US.
- The University of Coimbra in Portugal was established in 1290 and is among the oldest universities in Europe.
- The fascinating country is also home to the longest bridge in Europe at 17 kilometers long, the Vasco da Gama Bridge, in Lisbon.
- The world’s top surfing location is Portugal. The beautiful coastline that spans about 800 kilometers is known to have perfect surfing conditions all year. The biggest waves can be found in Nazaré.
- In 1755, Lisbon was struck by the most powerful earthquake recorded in European history. The earthquake was of magnitude 9.0 and was followed by a tsunami. Major fires took place and 275,000 residents lost their lives. The tragic event destroyed 85% of the buildings as well.
- Portugal and England have the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was signed in 1373 and is still strong to this day. Both countries entered wars to defend each other over the years.
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- Along with Spain, life imprisonment in Portugal has been abolished (the only two countries in the EU).
By Amal Ahmed