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Arouca

(4.5/5 based on 650+ reviews for 8 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, parks, museums
Arouca is a town and a municipality in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 22,359, in an area of 329.11km2. It had 20,383 electors in 2006. The population has grown from 7072 inhabitants in 1801.HistoryThe territory that became Arouca was settled by vestiges of pre-historic tribes, but it was in the Roman occupation that the first artifacts associated with settlement first appeared. From archaeological excavations, it is known that the area was settled late in the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula (due to its distance from coastal and North-South accesses). From local toponomy, the permanence of Germanic tribes is evident; names such as Sá, Saril, Alvarenga, Burgo, Escariz, Friães and Melareses, are examples of this influence.Following Moorish invasion more information began to be recorded in this region. Christian settlements that existed within the area were abandoned during this time, and moved to other northern access points. These settlements later returned following the Reconquista, when instability in the region disappeared. The history of Arouca, therefore, only became available with the founding and growth of the Monastery of Arouca, culminating in the religious life of D. Mafalda, daughter of the second King, D. Sancho I. It was this monastery, which for many centuries, that the populous of the region depended. The monastery was erected in the 10th century, in the invocation of Saint Peter, by two noblemen: Loderigo and Vandilo, from Moldes. The primitive building was nothing more than a simple dwelling, supporting a compliment of monks and nuns.By the 12th century, D. Toda Viegas and his family became principal patrons of the monastery, resulting in a growth of wealth and prestige. D. Afonso Henriques, even before national independence, conceded the Viegas and the monastery's monks various privileges and donations. They received various charters between 1132 and 1143.
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