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Freixo de Espada à Cinta

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The curious name of this town (possibly of pre-Roman origin) means literally «ash-tree of the girt sword». Several stories try to explain it: the name may come from a Visigoth called Espadacinta, from the arms of a Spanish nobleman or from a tale which states that King Dinis, while visiting the town in the 14th century, strapped his sword to an ash-tree.

It is imperative to visit the Manueline Mother Church with its exquisite 16th-century portal which leads the visitor into a rich interior, ressembling a small version of the Jerónimos Monastery, at Lisbon. The panels of the altarpiece are attributed to the brilliant Grão Vasco (1475-1540) and include a beautiful Annunciation.

The pillory, also Manueline, is one of the best preserved and most interesting of the country, and the Misericord Church is also worth admiring, with its Gothic niche over the main doorway.

The town is dominated by the heptagonal Torre do Galo, from where splendid views can be seen, namely in Spring, when the famous almond blossom of the region attracts crowds of visitors.

Together with this white splendour, which covers the mountains and slopes on both sides of the river Douro, the olive-trees and vineyards form a dazzling scenery which the visitor finds hard to forget and always wishes to rediscover.

Here, the northeastern region of Trás-os Montes truly offers its best, with its proud and solitary landscape and hospitable villages.

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