PÓVOA DE VARZIM
It is an ancient city. Its actual name is Póvoa de Varzim. The city is plane and opened to the Atlantic ocean that softens its mild climate; seasons come and go softly and the sea stands as the main character in the city. The sea provides supplies for the "Poveiro" (Póvoa's man), but it also gives him leisure, enjoyment and calm. The city is organised towards the sea and so are the main tourist structures...
The beach is wide and easy to get to; the sand is made of a unique and perfect texture and the rocks scattered here and there enhance the special character of the beach, providing an additional reason for a walk during the low tide: the exciting sea living.
-THE PEOPLE AND ITS HISTORY-
In the beginning, there was the sea and a welcoming cove ready for fishing. The most ancient documented reference dates from 953 and concerns the sale letter for the rustic property of Villa de Comite. The royal domain downstream Varazim got, in 1308, its first charter awarded by the King D.Dinis. But it didn't last for long. The community was set upon dependence of the Santa Clara monastery, in Vila do Conde, and felt then as an unfortunate stepdaughter; later on, in 1514, it was set free again through the charter awarded by the King D.Manuel.
Then the community took over its very own personality and improved for the better. An increasing embellishment ever since, now allows us to appreciate architectonic workpieces in different materials according to the purposes.
Before its actual name, Póvoa de Varzim got this denominations:
Vila Euracini-953; Vila Ueracini-1033; Vila Uerazini-1069; Vila Ueracin-1206; Varazim de Jusão-1308; Bajlya da Poboa Noua de Varazim-1343; Villa da Povoa de Varzim-1514; Cidade da Póvoa de Varzim-1973.
The borough of Póvoa de Varzim occupies a rather small area - 31,75 square miles and comprehends 12 parishes: Aguçadoura, Amorim, Argivai, A-ver-o-mar, Balazar, Beiriz, Estela, Laúndos, Navais, Rates, Terroso e Póvoa de Varzim.
A religious people always celebrates its devotion. The religious festivities are marked by the splendour of processions: there you can see natural-sized images on the top of the biers, requiring both faith and body's strength to hold them up. The joy of living, the entertainment in the feast-days adding to the amusement of the "Zés Pereiras" (big drum players), Music Bands, Folk Groups, processions,...
In this city, the Holy Week celebrations are remarkable for the rich tradition and comprehend various religious and profane ceremonies; St. Peter is honoured through a week of enjoyment and hits the top of excitement in the night of the 28th to the 29th June; Senhora da Assunção, the fishers' patroness, on August, 15, and in mid September, Senhora das Dores, a religious feast with a typical crockery market.
-HANDICRAFT AND GASTRONOMY-
In the handicraft, the Póvoa's sweater "camisola poveira" is one of the city's ex-libris. Another important ambassador is the Beiriz carpet (tapete de Beiriz), unique in the national handicraft. The manufacture of carpets, rugs and rag blankets as well as linen weaving is also very significant.
Póvoa de Varzim is well-served by good restaurants where distinct gastronomic traditions meet; on one hand, the Minho's cooking based upon meat and, on the other hand, the Póvoa's traditional cooking, this one, naturally, honouring fish as the special guest in every recipe: "Pescada à poveiro" (Póvoa's boiled whitefish), "Caldeirada de Peixe" (different fishes stewed together), "Arroz de sardinha" (sardine's rice),... When served with the good wine of this region "vinho verde", these typical meals are simply delicious.
For dessert, "Rabanadas à poveira" (Póvoa's golden toasts fried in milk and eggs with sugar) should be served with a glass of Port wine.
Popularly known as Rancho Poveiro, created in June of 1936 by the Póvoa's ethnographer António Santos Graça, the Grupo Folclórico Poveiro "re-lives" all the dances and songs from this beach. Its members wear customs from 100 years ago...
-MONUMENTS AND PERSONALITIES-
São Pedro de Rates (12/13th c. - National Monument) - This temple has its roots in a modest chapel from the Reconquest time which was rebuilt at the end of the 11th c., under D.Henrique and D.Teresa;
Cividade de Terroso - This ancient city is located on the top of the hill at about 153m high. It was occupied for a long period (800/700 BC - 3rd c. AD) and its remains provide important study elements to the History of Roman Hillfort peoples and the Roman settlement;
Aqueduct (National Monument) - Standing on 999 arches, it carried the water from Terroso springs to the monastery of Santa Clara, in Vila do Conde. It was built up in 1705 to 1714 and crosses the parishes of Beiriz and Argivai;
Pillory - Comprehending a stone column standing on steps, with an armillar sphere on the top of the shaft, the badge of the King D.Manuel I who gave autonomy to Póvoa de Varzim in 1514.
José Maria d'Eça de Queiroz, great writer, was born in this city on November 25, 1845, in Praça do Almada, at the house that bears the bronze plate from Teixeira Lopes noticing the event.
Cego do Maio (The Blind Maio) was called José Rodrigues Maio and risked his life dozens of times giving it back to his companions and so many other wrecked persons. His heroic acts deserved, among others, the greatest national award: The Necklace of the Tour and Sword Order, of the Value, Loyalty and Merit. which was given to him by the King D.Luís I in person;
It is a great honour for me, to show you a little from "my beautiful city"...
Hope you can sometime enjoy the beauties of this city, and I'm sure you all be enchanted and fall in love with it...
«Ala... Ala... Arriba».