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Miranda do Douro

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An ancient walled city (1545) rising on top of the Douro gorge near the border, its most outstanding monument is the beautiful 16th-century Cathedral, with two graceful towers, a Renaissance retable with biblical images carved in wood and a magnificent 18th-century organ.

However, the best known and original feature of the Cathedral of Miranda do Douro is a small wooden figure of young Jesus, called Menino Jesus da Cartolinha (Boy Jesus of the Top Hat). According to a legend, it represents a boy who appeared during a Spanish siege in 1711 to rally the Portuguese, tired and hungry. After their victory, they carved an image of the child, ornamented with an insignia across the breast, a small silver sword and the famous top hat.

Also worth visiting at Miranda do Douro, characterized by its ancient houses, is the Land of Miranda Museum, installed at the former 16th-century Town Hall and displaying local folk costumes, curious rural devices and a reconstruction of a typical farmhouse parlour, among other collections.

Near the seat of the county, the village of Duas Igrejas is famous for being home to the traditional pauliteiros, stick dancers dressed in black and white costumes and accompanied by drums and bagpipes.

It is worth visiting Sendim, with traditional handicrafts of rugs, mats and baskets, rich churches and an interesting carved stone cross. Another splendid stone cross and beautiful Romanesque church (13th century) may be admired at the village of Malhadas.

Miranda do Douro is also known for a gastronomical speciality, the posta mirandesa, a succulent thick veal steak.

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