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Povoa de Varzim travel guide — Povoa de Varzim tourism and travel information

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Povoa de Varzim travel guide

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about Povoa de Varzim

Póvoa de Varzim is a city (and a parish) on the coast of northern Portugal with a population of 63,297(the municipality in the 2001 census) and 88 km². The urban area of the city includes the parish of A Ver-o-Mar (English: "Watching-the-Sea") and the population is 36,671. Póvoa de Varzim, sometimes erroneously called Póvoa do Varzim, is located 25 km (17 miles) north of the Oporto. Póvoa de Varzim is the northern-most part of Oporto metropolitan area. It is best know in Portugal because of the fishery activities. Some times known as the "Northern Algarve" or "Portuguese Rio de Janeiro".

Povoa de Varzim history

Origins of Povoa de Varzim

The history of Povoa de Varzim dates back to its prehistoric origins. It was the land of Varazim, of the Euracini Roman family, who owned it in Roman times and gave his name to it. Some archaeological finds in Martim Vaz, Junqueira, and Vila Velha, inform us of this town in antiquity. The old town on City Hill dates back to 4000 BCE. It is named “Cividade de Terroso” and provides a good view of the whole city and nearby coast. However, the deeds of this territory - Villa Euracini - are dated 953 and belong to the cartulário of the student body of Guimarães as stated in Livro de Mumadona.

The name Varazim comes directly from the old Roman name of VILLA EVRACINI, in Lusitania. "Eura"(in latin EVRA) became "Vara" (VRA) and "Cini" (latin spelling) became "Zim"(lusitanic Romance spelling).

Póvoa de Varzim in the Middle Ages

In 1308, after enrolling the fifty-four couples of Varazim, King Denis of Portugal created a charter giving them reguengo de Varazim de Susão but obliging them to establish a Póvoa, a small harbour. This harbour has provided Póvoa de Varzim with its livelihood and has been a force for development and prosperity.

King Manuel I of Portugal ordered a new charter to the village in 1514 altering the financial part of the old charter and providing it with alternative mechanisms for the jurisdiction of the monastery. The small town of Póvoa, that had no more than five hundred inhabitants, benefited from its location on the coast becoming involved in the discoveries and conquests of the age. It became a city with its own council house, public square and pillory.

Modern Times

In the nineteenth century , the city became a summer holiday destination for the rich people of Porto and from other places of Minho Province. This was the time of the "Café-Concerto", private gambling. Railways linked Porto and Póvoa in 1875 and another line between neighboring Vila do Conde and Póvoa in 1874, and the town knew great development, became the most important touristic area of Northern Portugal, due to its large beaches and a centre for food and textile industries.

The fishing industry has lost much of its importance but still employs many inhabitants. Póvoa is essentially a tourist town, but unlike other urban areas of Porto, Póvoa is not a bedroom community for commuters to nearby Porto, it has a vibrant night life (mainly the beach discos known as Buddha and Hit Bar) attracks many visitors from the region and outside, it serves has a centre for the neighbouring towns of Esposende and Vila do Conde. The holiday beaches have modern and attractive buildings. Gaming is regulated and official. It takes place in the monumental casino whose beautiful interior is decorated by many artistic creations. The city of Póvoa de Varzim has become the centre of the tourist region of Costa Verde (Green Coast). In late 20th century, early 21st century, the city was largely renewed, with many Gardens and expensive traditional Portuguese sidewalks (these sidewalks made of little Black or White stones, known as Calçada exists in Rio de Janeiro and Paris, for instance), which gives the city a cosmopolitan look.

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