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Vila Velha de Ródão

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Vila Velha de Ródão
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A predominantly agricultural county and where the river Tagus has always played an essential role, the introduction of several industries during the second half of the 20th century deeply changed the lifes of the local population.

However, olive groves and orchards still surround villages like Fratel and Sarnadas de Ródão, which have preserved many of their old traditions, fairs and popular festivals.

Vila Velha de Ródão is a small town with some sites of interest, such as the Mother Church, the chapels of Our Lady of the Castle and of Our Lady of Alagada, the pillory and the ruins of the castle.

But the county's ex-libris is undoubtedly Portas de Ródão, where great bulks of rock seem to guard the waters of the Tagus and the escarpments covered with heather, juniper and broom shelter rare birds such as the black stork or the royal eagle owl.

Also worth visiting are the archaeological sites of Enxarrique, Famaco and Vilas Ruivas, as this is a region rich in Pre-historic findings.

To relax and spend some hours of leisure, the lake of the Fratel Dam offers excellent conditions for water sports and there is also a fluvial harbour for boats and a picnic park.

Local handicrafts include embroideries, woven linnen and works in forged iron.

The waters of the Tagus were for long full of abundant and savoury varieties of fish, such as boce, barbel, shad, lamprey and eels, and this influenced decisively the local gastronomy.

Today, pollution has largely driven most of these species away, but Vila Velha de Ródão still offers what is considered by experts the best fish soup of Portugal, created by the local fishermen and spiced with olive oil, onion, garlic, laurel, tomato and egg.

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