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Benavente



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Located at a characteristic Ribatejo region of extensive plains rendered fertile by the proximity of the rivers Tagus and Sorraia, Benavente boasts of an historic patrimony which survived a great earthquake in 1909 that profoundly affected the zone and partially destroyed many important buildings.

At the seat of the county, the elegant 16th-century pillory had to be reconstructed and was later placed at the main square, in front of the Town Hall.

Other interesting sites at Benavente are the ruins of the Jericó Convent (founded in 1542), the Calvary stone cross (17th century) and the Municipal Museum, lodged at a stately mansion from the 18th century.

The ancient village of Samora Correia also displays a rich architectural legacy, namely the County Fountain (probably dating from the 15th century) and the Valets Fountain (18th century), the Mother Church, from the 18th century, with an altar in gilded woodwork and beautiful statues of Our Lady, the Holy Spirit or Miserichord Church, founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 16th century, displaying a beautiful wood Pietà, richly clothed, and a 17th-century image of Lord Jesus.

However, the village's most emblematic building was the former 18th-century Palace of the Lezírias (plains) Company, which suffered a great fire in 1976 that destroyed most of the rooms and their valuable contents; now called Infantado Palace, it was rebuilt to operate as a cultural centre.

The county's traditional gastronomy offers many dishes based on fish, such as cod with bread-soup, eel stew, fried sole with kidney beans rice or shad with bread purée, but there are also meat specialities such as grilled lamb or a typical «bacon sauce soup».

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