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Portugal Nazare, the Heaven in the Silver Coast

Jun 4, 2008
Nazare is possibly the most famous fishing town in Portugal, it is unique in many ways.

Nazare doesnt contain the architectural treasures or grandiose monuments prevalent in other Portuguese towns, but it has an atmosphere of times gone by, contentment and traditions which continue to thrive, which make it a special place to visit.

The wooden fishing boats still used today are colourful and narrow with curved prows and decoration evocative of the first fishermen of the area; the Phoenicians, who settled here in pre-Christian times and on some prows you will even still see a watchful eye painted in theory to detect the two most important things to a fisherman; shoals and storms and many dangle lamps for fishing after sunset.

The Casa Museu do Pescador (R. Sousa Lobo) is a small museum dedicated to the fishing population of Nazare. Contained within a traditional cottage, it has been lovingly restored to show the exterior and interior of the home of a typical fishing family for the early part of the 20th century.

Nazare is split into three main districts, Praia (beach), Pederneira and Sitio. Located on a rocky promontory over 100m above the main part of the town, Sitio provides wonderful views over the bay and beach of Nazare, and from here the walker can continue northward along the stretches of beach where the Atlantic regularly pounds creating ideal conditions for many a shore fisher to cast a line.

Although this mainly residential part of Nazare is accessible by car, by far more interesting is the funicular carriage which takes passengers up the sharp slope for a small fee.

A winding path also exists but is perhaps more appealing on the way down!
Once at the top, besides the views one finds a large church and also a small chapel clinging to the edge of the sheer drop, the Ermida da Memoria, whose origins are closely connected to the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary.

The legend goes that one misty morning in 1182, local nobleman Dom Fuas Roupinho was hunting and realised at the last moment that he had in fact chased his deer to the very edge of the cliff, just as he too was about to fall to his death, he cried out to Our Lady of Nazare who appeared before him and halted his horse.

In honour of this life-saving miracle, Roupinho ordered a chapel to be built. Over the years it has attracted many pilgrims and today visitors can still see the tale depicted in hand painted azulejos and even the supposed footprint of Roupinhos horse engraved in a stone found in the crypt below the chapel.

Along the seafront of Nazare, people still dry their catch of fish in the sun and mend their boats alongside sunbathing holidaymakers and playful children enjoying the many attributes of the beach.

A throng of craftshops and cafes stretches the length of the Avenida Marginal, as well as restaurants serving a great variety of the local speciality, which is of course fish. Caldeirada a Nazarena is a rich fish-based stew typical of the area, and fresh ingredients feature strongly on menus often offering the catch of the day.

Hope to meet you soon in the beautiful Nazare!
About the Author
Antonio is the webmaster of http://www.silver-coast-properties.net, a site that offers a wide range of useful and helpful information about properties in Nazare. Visit his site for more informations.
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