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Vila Real

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Contemplating the mountains of the Marão and set on a gorge cut by the confluence of the rivers Cabril and Corgo, Vila Real was founded in 1272 and its monuments reflect the city's long history.

The most remarkable examples are the 15th-century fine Gothic cathedral, originally the church of an ancient Dominican monastery, and the Igreja dos Clérigos, also known as New Chapel, with a fine Baroque façade by Nicholas Nasoni and beautiful blue and white tiles.

Vila Real is a busy commercial center due to its strategic position in the Upper Douro and has also known a great development in the latter years since a university was installed there.

However, the «jewel» of the county is undoubtedly Casa de Mateus, the splendid manor house internationally known as it appears on the labels of the Mateus rosé wine.

Built in the early 18th century, this masterpiece by Nasoni presents a beautiful pinnacled façade reflected in a rectangular pool and an interior full of treasures which can be visited, as well as the dazzling and romantic gardens.

At about six kilometres (four miles) from Vila Real, the small village of Bisalhães is famous for its unusual black pottery, and another small village, Agarez, offers beautiful linnen bedspreads and fine embroidery.

The gastronomy and wines of Vila Real deserve their reputation, and local specialities include roast kid, baked cod, excellent cured meats (including bola, a rich breadough with layers of cured meats forming a pie) or roast leg of pork.

| Hotels (3) | Pensions and Boarding Houses (1) | Manor & Farm Houses (4) |

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