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One of the most industrialized counties of the district of Oporto, it once played an essential role in the foundation of Portugal as a nation, when it was known as Land of Maia and stretched between the rivers Douro and Ave.

Several interesting monuments reflect the county's ancient history, such as the Roman bridge over the river Leça or Quinta dos Cónegos, an estate once used by the bishops of Oporto, with a fine manor-house and beautiful fountains, chapels and statues at the Maia Gardens.

In terms of religious architecture, it is worth visiting the Romanesque Mother Church of Águas Santas, the church of Our Lady of Good Dispatch at the seat of the county, dating from 1738 and displaying remarkable gilded woodwork and a splendid stained-glass window, the Mother Church of Silva Escura, from the 18th century, or the former Augustinian convent and monastery estate at Moreira da Maia.

At the parish of Milheirós, the Fundevila nucleus includes two typical farmsteads which have been recently restored, and the Arch House, which lodges five water-mills inside.

At the seat of the county, tourists will also enjoy visiting the Maia Zoo, sheltering more than 300 animals and including an investigation nucleus for the preservation and protection of species. It is integrated in a zoological park which offers several attractions associated with the display of flora and fauna and a zone for picnics.

The county of Maia, like all the coastline region of the river Douro, boasts of a characteristic and savoury gastronomy, including specialities such as roast cod, sardines in vinegar sauce, roast kid and the typical cozido à portuguesa (a variety of sausages, meat and vegetables), which may be enjoyed with the local vinho verde.

Visitors will also find a variety of handicrafts, from embroideries to ceramics, pottery, images of saints in wood and ivory and works in leather, tin and forged iron.

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