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Macedo de Cavaleiros

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Located in a fertile valley of north-east Trás-os-Montes, the county of Macedo de Cavaleiros boasts of the unusual beauty of the Bornes and Pinhovelo mountains and of the Azibo Dam, as well as of the dazzling views which may be admired from the heights of the sanctuaries of Saint Ambrose and of Our Lady of Balsamão.

The county's architectural patrimony includes several fine manorhouses from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as those of Vale de Prados and Morais, interesting churches (namely the Mother Church at Macedo de Cavaleiros or the 17th-century temple of Vale Benfeito), and a number of stone pillories worth admiring, like the ones of Lamas de Orelhão and of Chacim.

At the top of a hill near Chacim rises the Chapel of Our Lady of Balsamão, where a heremitage was established in 1733 and later a convent, closed in 1834.

Another interesting site at this small town is the Royal Spinning House, built in the 18th century to manufacture silk and rising next to the Cocoons House and the Workers Quarter.

The Azibo Dam, one of the county's main tourist attractions, includes a wharf, an area for picnics, a forest park and two reception offices at Salselas and Santa Cominha, and offers excellent conditions for water sports.

Macedo de Cavaleiros is a region much appreciated by adepts of fishing and hunting and also by those in search of more radical sports, such as the practice of hang-gliding at the Bornes mountain.

The county's gastronomy is rich and diversified, with excellent cured meats, dishes of game, traditional Easter-cakes and roast cod.

Local handicrafts offer beautiful lace and embroideries, basketwork and the miniature stone houses of Lamas de Podence and Edroso.

A land of harsh winters, Macedo de Cavaleiros celebrates Summer with lively religious festivals, of which the most popular are the Festival of Saint Peter, in June, and those in honour of Saint Ambrose and Our Lady of Balsamão, in August.

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