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Alvaiázere



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Valleys and slopes covered with vineyards and olive groves and the harsh landscape of the Sicó limestone heights characterize this rural county belonging to the district of Leiria, crossed by the calm waters of the rivers Nabăo and Alge.

From the top of the Serra de Alvaiázere mountains, the highest of the range, it is possible to admire wonderful views over the green and fertile plains, framed by pinewoods and dotted with tiny villages of white and ochre houses.

The county is also rich in caves, known as algares, such as Algar da Água (water algar), located on the north-east of the mountains, about eight metres high and with springs of water, stalactites and stalagmites inside.

In terms of architectural patrimony, the small town of Alvaiázere displays a 16th-century Mother Church including an altar of gilded woodwork and Baroque sculptures, with a graceful domed bandstand from the 1930's next to it, and the Noble House, exhibiting a 17th-century Mannerist portal, where it is said one of the killers of Inęs de Castro, the mistress of king Pedro I, hid himself in 1355.

Still in the county, it is worth visiting the Chapel of Our Lady of Covőes and the Chapel's Cave, where an image known as «Lady of Memory» appeared, according to a local legend.

Leaving the town of Alvaiázere, several villages display interesting buildings and churches, such as the church of Saint Peter, at Rego da Murta, the Mother Church and fountain of Pussos or the Saint Neutel Chapel and pillory of Maçăs de Dona Maria.

The region is proud of producing an excellent olive-oil of certified origin, used in various regional dishes such as roast rabbit in wine sauce, corn gruel with cabbages or cod with chícharos (a kind of kidney beans).

Local handicrafts include works in wood with inlaid designs, basketry and typical rugs.

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