About Portugal

Name : Portuguese Republic
Anthem : A Portuguese
Capital : Lisbon
Official Language : Portuguese
Government : Parliamentary Democracy
Formation : Recognized as a republic on 5th October 1910 
Currency: Euro
Area : 92,152 km2
Population  : 10,487,289
Density :114 people / km2
GDP : $251.451 billion (46th in the world)
Per Capita Income : $23,671(39th in the world)



Portugal is a democratic republic ruled by the constitution of 1976 with Lisbon, the nation's largest city, as its capital. The four main governing components are the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the government, and the courts. The constitution grants the division or separation of powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

The President, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervising, nonexecutive role. The current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral parliament composed of 230 deputies elected for four-year terms.

The government is headed by the prime minister (currently José Sócrates), who chooses the Council of Ministers, comprising all the ministers and the respective state secretaries. The national and regional governments, and the Portuguese parliament, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Minority parties CDU (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party "The Greens"), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) and CDS-PP (People's Party) are also represented in the parliament and local governments.

The courts are organized into categories, including judicial, administrative, and fiscal. The supreme courts are the courts of last appeal. A thirteen-member constitutional court oversees the constitutionality of legislation.



The climate of Portugal can be classified as Oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south. One of the warmest European countries, yearly temperature averages in mainland Portugal at 13 °C (55 °F) in the north and 18 °C (64 °F) in the south. The Madeira and Azores Atlantic archipelagos have a narrower temperature range. Spring and summer are sunny, whereas autumn and winter are rainy and windy. Extreme temperatures occur in North-Eastern parts of the country in winter (where it may reach -12 °C) and South-Eastern parts in summer (where temperatures can soar up to 42 °C). Sea coastal areas are milder, varying between -2 °C on some coldest winter mornings and 37 °C on some of the hottest summer afternoons. 

Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus. The northern landscape is mountainous in interior areas, with plateaus indented by river valleys. The south, between the Tagus and the Algarve (the Alentejo), features mostly rolling plains and a climate somewhat warmer and drier than in the cooler and rainier north. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean climate like southern Spain. Snow fall happens sometimes (in some cold winter days) in the northern interior of the country. However it is a rare event in the south, but it may happen. 

The islands of the Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Some islands have had volcanic activity as recently as 1957. Portugal's highest point is Mount Pico on Pico Island. It is an ancient volcano measuring 2,351 m (7,713 ft). 



The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years), and higher education (university and polytechnic). Portuguese universities have existed since 1290. The oldest Portuguese university was first established in Lisbon before moving to Coimbra. Universities are usually organized into faculties. Institutes and schools are also common designations for autonomous subdivisions of Portuguese higher education institutions, and are always used in the polytechnical system. The Bologna process has been adopted since 2006 by Portuguese universities and polytechnical institutes. 



Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent, or were introduced when it played an active role during the Age of Discovery.

Portuguese literature, one of the earliest Western literatures, developed through text and song. Until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian Peninsula.[7] Gil Vicente (ca. 1465 - ca. 1536), was one of the founders of both Portuguese and Spanish dramatic traditions. Adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (ca. 1524-1580) wrote the epic poem The Lusiads, with Vergil's Aeneid as his main influence. Modern Portuguese poetry is rooted in neoclassic and contemporary styles, as exemplified by Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). Modern literature is internationally known through the works of Almeida Garrett, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes, and 1998 Nobel Prize winner, José Saramago, and others. Internationally notable performers include Amália Rodrigues, Carlos Paredes, Mariza, Mísia, and Madredeus. One of the most notable Portuguese musical groups outside the country, and specially in Germany, is the goth-metal band Moonspell. Portugal has several summer music festivals, like Festival do Sudoeste in Zambujeira do Mar, Festival de Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, and Rock in Rio Lisboa in Lisbon. Out of the summer season, Portugal has a large number of festivals, designed more to an urban audience, like Flowfest or Hip Hop Porto. Further more, one of the largest international Goa trance festivals takes place in northern Portugal every two years. It has also a rich history in what painting is concerned. The first well-known painters date back to the XV century - like Nuno Gonçalves - were part of the Gothic painting period.

The 20th century saw the arrival of Modernism, and along with it came the most prominent Portuguese painters: Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, who was heavily influenced by French painters, particularly by the Delaunays. Among his best known works is Canção Popular a Russa e o Fígaro. Prominent international figures in visual arts nowadays include painters Vieira da Silva, Júlio Pomar, and Paula Rego. Traditional architecture is distinctive. Modern Portugal has given the world renowned architects Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza Vieira. Internally, Tomás Taveira is also noteworthy. Since the 1990s, Portugal has increased the number of public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established in 1956. These include the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon, Serralves Foundation and the Casa da Música, both in Porto. 



The country is fairly homogeneous linguistically and religiously. Native Portuguese are ethnically a combination of pre-Roman Iberians and Celts with a fair amount of Roman and Germanic, along with some other minor contributions (Berbers, Arabs and Jews).

In the 2001 census, the population was 10,356,117, of which 51.7% was female. By the end of 2003, legal immigrants represented about 5% of the population, and the largest communities were from Brazil, Ukraine, Romania, Cape Verde, Angola, Russia, Guinea-Bissau and Moldova with other immigrants from parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe. The vast majority of Portuguese are Roman Catholic. The biggest metropolitan areas are Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Coimbra, Setúbal and Aveiro.

Portugal, long a country of emigration, has now become a country of net immigration, and not just from the former Indian and African colonies. Today, many Eastern Europeans (especially Ukrainians, Moldavians, Romanians and Russians), as well as Brazilians, are making Portugal their home. There is a small number of Chinese also.



Portuguese society is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. Approximately 90% of the population consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, but only about one-third attend Mass and receive the sacraments regularly. Yet a larger number wish to be baptized, married in the Church, and receive Last Rites. 

The practice of religion shows striking regional differences. Even in the 1990s, 60% to 70% of the population in the north regularly attended religious services, compared with 10% to 15% in the historically anti-clerical south. In the greater Lisbon area, about 30% were regular churchgoers.

The sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, in Fátima, Portugal, has great religious significance for many Catholics around the world.



The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. Until the end of the 19th century, French law was the main influence. Since then the major influence has been German law. The main laws include the Constitution (1976, as amended), the Civil Code (1966, as amended) and the Penal Code (1982, as amended). Other relevant laws are the Commercial Code (1888, as amended) and the Civil Procedure Code (1961, as amended). Portuguese law applied in the former colonies and territories and continues to be the major influence for those countries. 



Portuguese cuisine is diverse. The Portuguese love dry cod (bacalhau in Portuguese), for which there are hundreds of recipes. Two other popular fish recipes are grilled sardines and caldeirada. Typical Portuguese meat recipes, that may take beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, include feijoada, cozido à portuguesa, frango de churrasco, and carne de porco à alentejana. Typical fast food dishes include the francesinha from Porto, and bifanas (grilled pork), prego (grilled beef) or leitão (piglet) sandwiches which are well known around the country. The Portuguese art of pastry has its origins in ancient recipes of which pastéis de Belém from Lisbon (also known as pastéis de nata) and ovos-moles from Aveiro are good examples.

Portuguese wines have deserved international recognition since the times of the Roman Empire, which associated Portugal with their God Bacchus. Today the country is known by wine lovers and its wines have won several international prizes. Some of the best Portuguese wines are: Vinho Verde, Vinho Alvarinho, Vinho do Douro, Vinho do Alentejo, Vinho do Dão, Vinho da Bairrada and the sweet: Port Wine, Madeira Wine and the Moscatel from Setúbal and Favaios. Port Wine is well known around the world and the most widely exported Portuguese wine.