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Portugal - Culture

Portugal Culture

Traditional folk dancing remains popular in rural towns.

The nation's best-known musical form is the melancholic fado (songs believed to have originated from the pinings of 16th-century sailors).

Portugal's rich literary tradition also has its origins in the 16th century, with the publication of works by the dramatist Gil Vicente and the poet Luís de Camões. Arguably the country's finest poet and dramatist to emerge in the 20th century is Fernando Pessoa.

Portuguese food is cheap, delicious and served in gut-expanding portions. Classic Portuguese meals include sardinhas asadas (charcoal-grilled sardines), pastéis de bacalhau (cod fishcakes) and caldo verde (a soup of cabbage and potatoes). Seafood dishes such as linguado grelhado (grilled sole) and bife de atúm (tuna steak) are appetising staples. Meals can be washed down with Portugal's good-quality wines (vinhos) or port - the drink synonymous with Portugal.

Portugal's architecture is renowned for its Moorish and surrealist flourishes, culminating in the development during the 16th century of the Manueline style characterised by the extravagant use of twists, turns, spirals and nautical themes for decoration. The most striking craft is the making of decorative tiles known as azulejos, a technique the Portuguese learnt from the Moors.

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