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Figueira da Foz ( ), also known as Figueira for short, is a city of the district of Coimbra, in Portugalmarker. It is located at the mouth of the Mondego river, 40 km west of Coimbra, and sheltered by hills (Serra da Boa Viagem). The city proper has a population of 46,600 and the municipality has in total 62,601 inhabitants. It is the second largest city in the district of Coimbra.

It is a coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities in the Atlantic Oceanmarker coast. As a city of tourism it plays an important part in the centre of the country. A zone of legal gambling, one can find in Figueira one of the biggest casinos of the Iberian Peninsulamarker – the Casino Peninsular.

History and landmarks

According to the legend the place’s name is due to a fig tree, which stood at the quay of Salmanha, where the fishermen used to tie up their boats. The historian Nelson Borges said, however, that Figueira comes from the word "fagaria", which means "opening, huge mouth". Foz comes from the Latin word "fouces" = "mouth of a river", and Mondego comes from the pre-romanic expressions "mond" = "mouth" and "aec"= "river". That means, Figueira da Foz would be "the river’s mouth opening". Some historical traces show that people were settling in this region since the Neolithic age. The oldest known document, however, dates from the year 1096. In this an abbot named Pedro donates estates, which belonged to the church of S. Julião, to the cathedral Sé Velha of Coimbramarker.

Knowing the great importance rivers had in the development of cities and of ancient civilizations, the mouth of the Mondego must have played a central role for the fixation of men in this region and for the formation of settlements, which were the beginning of the city of Figueira da Foz. Figueira da Foz had a huge development during the 18th and 19th centuries due to the immense port movements and the expansion of the shipbuilding industry, supplying the city with new communication routes, housing and other facilities. It was elevated to vila (small town) on March 12, 1771 and turned city (cidade) on September 20, 1882. Discovered as a sea resort by the end of the 19th century, it gained great reputation in the 1920s and 1930s. The city had the Potuguese nickname of Rainha das Praias (Queen of the Beaches).

The municipality has some noted landmarks like the Sotto Mayor Palace, the old fishing village of Buarcosmarker, the Serra da Boa Viagem - a small forested mountain by the Atlantic Oceanmarker, several beaches, and its large seaside promenade paved with typical Portuguese pavement. Figueira da Foz has several Churches, many of them in the rich Baroque style, a Municipal Museum with archaeological, ethnographic and artistic collection, the Santa Catarina Fort and the old Buarcos Fortress, the Relógio Tower by the main sandy beachy, several archaeological vestiges throughout the municipality, several Palaces and Manor Houses (like the Sotto Mayor Palace), as well as several green spaces and small gardens like those in the area of Abadias.

Economy

The city is an important industrial centre, producing wood pulp and paper (Soporcel - a Portucel Soporcel company; CELBI - an Altri company) and glass (Saint-Gobain Mondego - a Saint-Gobain company). It also has notable naval construction and fish industries, as well as a factory of the CIMPOR Group installed in the Mondego Cape (Cabo Mondego). The seaport and the fishing harbour are also important for its economy.

With its old and renowned casino (Casino da Figueira), the marina, several hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, Figueira is actually a very important Atlantic beach resort, in the center of Portugal's Silver Coast/Costa de Prata tourism region.

Freguesias

A view of Figueira da Foz




Climate

Figueira da Foz has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) characterized by mild, rainy winters and dry, warm summers. The annual average temperature is around and the annual average rainfall is about . The sea surface temperature varies from in winter to in the summer.

Beaches of Figueira da Foz

  • Praia da Figueira da Foz - Relógio - Praia da Bola de Nivea
  • Praia da Gala - Figueira da Foz (Cova Gala)
  • Praia da Murtinheira - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia do Cabo Mondego - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Leirosa - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Costa de Lavos - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Orbitur - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Cova - Cova Gala (Figueira da Foz)
  • Praia do Cabedelo - Figueira da Foz (Cova Gala)
  • Praia da Claridade - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia de Buarcos - Tamargueira (Figueira da Foz) e Plataforma (Figueira da Foz)
  • Praia do Vale do Emide - Figueira da Foz
  • Praia de Quiaios - Figueira da Foz (Quiaios)


Sports

Figueira da Foz is home to Associação Naval 1º Maio, a football team of the main Portuguese football league. The city is also home for a basketball team, Ginásio Clube Figueirense which competes in the Portuguese basketball league.

Notable people



See also



References



External links




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