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Marvao

(4/5 based on 1,100+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, sightseeing, museums
Marvão is a municipality in Portalegre District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 3,512, in an area of 154.90 km². The present Mayor is Vitor Martins Frutuoso, elected by the Social Democratic Party. The municipal holiday is September 8.Perched on a granite crag of the Serra de São Mamede, Marvão's name is derived from an 8th-century Muladi duke, named Ibn Marwan. Ibn Marwan used the fortress as a power base when establishing an independent statelet ("emirate", duchy) - covering much of modern-day Portugal - during the Emirate of Cordoba (884-931 CE). The castle and walled village were further fortified through the centuries, notably under Sancho II of Portugal (13th century) and Denis of Portugal.The village has generated significant tourist interest in recent years. It was included in the #1 New York Times bestselling book, '1000 Places to see Before you Die'. Nobel prize-winning author José Saramago wrote of the village ‘‘From Marvão one can see the entire land... It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world.’’. In the 1950s, author Huldine V. Beamish wrote of Marvão 'There is an atmosphere about the district (of Marvão) that is very ancient. At times you have the same peculiar feelings as those evoked by Stonehenge and that amazing druid monument at Callernish in the Isle of Lewis. Picking your way along the steep stony pathways, you would not be at all surprised to meet a Phoenician trader or Roman Soldier. It would be the most natural thing in the world.'. An annual international classical music festival, under the artistic direction of German conductor Christoph Poppen, was launched in Marvão in July 2014.
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