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Marinha Grande

Marinha Grande is a municipality in the Leiria District, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 38,681, in an area of 187.25 km². The city itself has a population of 30,000.It is located right in the middle of the 700 year old Leiria pine forest covering 100 square kilometres, and near excellent beaches such as Praia da Vieira, Nazaré, and São Pedro de Moel.The present Mayor is Álvaro Pereira, elected by the Socialist Party. The municipal holiday is Ascension Day.ParishesAdministratively, the municipality is divided into 3 civil parishes: Marinha Grande Moita Vieira de LeiriaHistoryThe Pinhal de Leiria forest was first planted in the 13th century by Dom Afonso III and expanded by Dom Dinis as a barrier against the sands and to supply timber to the maritime industry. The Marinha Grande glass manufacturing industry was first established in the middle of the 18th century. The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by an English entrepreneur William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal. The wood from the pine forest was used to fuel the factories. The former palatial home of William Stephens now contains the Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande which houses glassware from the 17th to the 20th century. In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country's main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.
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