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Valença, Portugal

Valença has about 14,000 inhabitants. Its origins go back to the Roman empire. In the 12th century it was called Contrasta, but king Afonso III changed its name to Valença.

The town fortress is a piece of gothic and baroque military architecture. The first walls were built in the 13th century. It is formed by two polygons separated by a ditch, and four doors. The main entrance is Porta do Sol (Door of the Sun). This door was damaged during the Napoleonic invasions.

In 1879, Portugal and Spain agreed to build a bi-functional ‒ road and train ‒ bridge. It was inspired in Eiffel works, and it is still in use.

Núcleo Museológico. To find about the history of Valença, you may visit the small Núcleo Museológico. There you can find a model of the original medieval town and archaeological finds, from Bronze Age swords to Roman vases. On the way in you're confronted with a model of a siege engine of the type used to chuck big rocks across the river at Spain. Behind the museum you'll find a Roman milestone, first erected in 43 AD and marking mile 42 from Braga to Tuy.

The fortified town of Tuy in Spain lies just a couple of kilometres north of Valença, across the iron bridge.

River Minho Greenway. The railway Valença-Monção was built in 1906. It was closed in 1989. As a consequence, the railway and the adjacent stations were deserted. By 2004, the railway was converted into a greenway.



Escola Básica e Secundária de Muralhas do Minho, Valença