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Valongo



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On the limits of the industrial belt of Oporto and set on a long valley framed by mountains, Valongo was inhabited since remote times, as the discovery of several cromlechs at the zone seems to confirm.

Valongo was for long known as «Land of Bread and Slate», in allusion to its tradition in bakery and to the rural architecture, characterized by houses with roofs and even walls made with slate from the local quarries.

The seat of the county lies tucked beneath the heights of the Serra de Santa Justa, near a zone of ore-beds and slate-quarries which were already explored by the Romans.

The town has few noticeable monuments, except for a remarkable stone cross known as Senhor do Padrão («lord of the stone»).

The county's natural patrimony is much more interesting, namely the Paleozoic Park, created by the local Town Council with the support of the Oporto Science Faculty and intended to alert visitors to the preservation of rare animal and vegetable species.

The park occupies a large area of the Pias and Santa Justa mountains and deserves to be explored by foot, offering visitors fossil traces from the Primary Age, strange geological formations and archaeological sites such as the fojos (deep pits which were once gold mines).

It also includes the tiny and picturesque village of Couce, where only half a dozen families live.

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