Alentejo


Alentejo

[
Alentejo region and 4 of its current 5 subregions, before the inclusion of the Lezíria do Tejo subregion.] Alentejo (pronounced|ɐlẽˈtɛʒu) is a south-central region of Portugal. Its name's origin, "Além-Tejo", literally translates to "Beyond the Tagus" or "Across the Tagus". The region is separated from the rest of Portugal by the Tagus river, and extends to the south where it borders the Algarve. There are five sub-regions; the Alto (High) Alentejo, the Baixo (Lower) Alentejo, the Alentejo Central, the Alentejo Litoral, and Lezíria do Tejo. Its main cities are Évora (region's capital), Santarém (formerly belonging to Ribatejo region), Portalegre, Beja, and Sines. It has 776,585 inhabitants (2001), and an area of about 31,152 km² (density of 24 inhabitants per square kilometre).

Being a traditional, old-time region, it is also one of the more recent seven Regions of Portugal (NUTS II subdivisions). Today Lezíria do Tejo subregion, formerly belonging to Lisboa e Vale do Tejo region, is part of Alentejo NUTS II region. Alentejo is a region known for its polyphonic singing groups, comparable to those found on Sardinia and Corsica.

History

The landscapes of Alentejo are rich in reminders of its past. From prehistory there are countless dolmens, menhirs, and burial mounds. Impressive Roman relics are everywhere, from the still-standing temple at Évora to a mostly intact Roman villa at São Cucufate. While the Alentejo flourished under centuries of Roman rule, it thrived in the 400 years that the Moors held it. They left behind cultural and architectural ties, a Mosque at Mértola, and dozens of spectacular legends. By 1249 a young Portuguese nation, the Kingdom of Portugal, had incorporated the Alentejo, and strong castles arose to guard the plains. With mild winter weather, abundant soil, and a hospitable landscape, the Alentejo flourished in the Middle Ages and the Age of Discovery in which the Portuguese played a major part. A noted Jesuit college was in operation from the 16th to the 18th century in Évora. Cork, wine and wheat would become the main production and the most important source of wealth in the region. Today, the Alentejo remains rural and natural with thousands of miles of cork forest and a variety of wildlife.

Geography

Topographically the countryside varies considerably, from the open rolling plains of the south of the Alentejo to the granite hills that border Spain in the north-east. To feed the water needs of this considerable area a number of public dams have been constructed, most notably the Alqueva Dam.

The landscape is mostly made of soft rolling hills or plains, with cork oaks and olive trees, or the occasional vine. In the north you can find mostly cattle, such as cows, sheep and pig (both white and black); to the south, you will find mostly crops.

Nature

To the east of Portalegre is the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede, a Nature Park Area that includes charming medieval villages that have changed very little from those days. In the south near Mértola is another Nature Park Area named Parque Natural do Vale Guadiana. This is mainly uninhabited and a contrast to the other above. To the west, the coastal strip that runs from the port of Sines down to Cabo de São Vicente is the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.

Economy

The area is commonly known as the "bread basket" of Portugal, a region of vast open countryside with undulating plains and rich fertile soil. With very few exceptions all the major towns are mainly reliant on agriculture, livestock and wood. There are several types of typical cheeses, wines and smoked hams and sausages made in Alentejo region, among these: "Queijo de Serpa", "Queijo de Évora" and "Queijo de Nisa" (cheeses); "Vinho do Alentejo" and "Vinho do Redondo" (wines); and presunto (ham). Marble, cork, olive oil and mining industries are other important activities in the region. The Alqueva dam is an important irrigation and hydroelectric power generation facility which supports a part of Alentejo's economy.

ubregions

* Alentejo Central
* Alentejo Litoral
* Alto Alentejo
* Baixo Alentejo [http://www.unm.edu/~hebs/pubs/Boone_2002_TribalismEthnicityIslamization.pdf]
* Lezíria do Tejo

ee also

*Alentejo VR

External links

* [http://www.allentejo.com/ Portal Alentejo - Allentejo]


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  • Alentejo —   [alen teʒu] der, historischer Provinz in Südportugal, umfasst das Gebiet südlich des Tejo bis zur Hoch Algarve und damit über ein Viertel des portugiesischen Festlandes, heute aufgeteilt in die Distrikte Beja, Setúbal, Évora und Portalegre,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Alentejo — Forma tradicional española del nombre de esta región de Portugal, que se usa siempre con artículo antepuesto: «Estos pinares se localizan en las costas del Alentejo y del Algarve, en Portugal» (VV. AA. Bosques [Esp. 1998]). No debe utilizarse en… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Alentējo — Alentējo, Provinz, so v.w. Alemtejo …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Alentejo — Alentejo, portug. Provinz, gränzt nördl. an die port. Estremadura und Beira, östl. an die span. Estremadura, südl. an Algarbien, westl. an den atl. Ocean, besteht größtentheils aus Hochfläche, ist trocken und an der Küste ungesund, wo sich… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Alentejo — région du Portugal et de la C.E., au S. du Tage; 26 930 km², 558 500 hab.; cap. Evora …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Alentejo — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alentejo — Lage der portugiesischen Region Alentejo Der Alentejo (port. für jenseits des Tejo, IPA /ɐ.lẽ. tɛ.ʒu/) ist eine Region in Portugal. Sie umfasst die Distrikte Portalegre, Évora und Beja sowie den Südteil des Distrikts Setúbal. Nachbarregionen sind …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alentejo — Région de l Alentejo L’Alentejo est une région du Portugal, de 31 385 Km2, qui comprend une grande partie de la moitié sud du pays. À l origine, le nom, Além Tejo, signifie littéralement « au delà du Tage ». Cette région est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alentejo — El Alentejo es una región del centro sur de Portugal. Literalmente, en portugués significa detrás del Tajo. Comprende integralmente los distritos de Portalegre, Évora y Beja, y las mitades sur de los distritos de Setúbal y de Santarém. Limita al… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alentejo VR — Vinho do Alentejo (Alentejo Wines) are Portuguese wines produced in the Alentejo region. The area is classified as a Vinho Regional (VR), a designation similar to a French vin de pay region. Located in the southern half of Portugal, the Alentejo… …   Wikipedia


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