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Vila Nova da Barquinha

Vila Nova da Barquinha is a municipality in the district of Santarém in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 7,322, in an area of 49.53 km². The village of Vila Nova da Barquinha, which is the seat of the municipality, has about 3500 inhabitants.The present Mayor is Vítor Miguel Pombeiro, elected by the Socialist Party. The municipal holiday is June 13.History and sightsAlthough some villages of Vila Nova da Barquinha are ancient, the development of the region is strongly related to the Reconquista period, when the river Tagus, which flows through the South of the municipality, was the border between the dominions of Christians and Moors. In the 12th century, the defence of this border was in charge of the Knights Templar, who built several castles along the river. One of these is the Castle of Almourol, built by the Master of the Portuguese Templars, Gualdim Pais, in 1171. The picturesque castle is located on an island in the Tagus river and can be visited by boat. Nowadays it is the most visited historical site in Vila Nova da Barquinha.In the end of the 13th century, when the Reconquista was finished, the importance of the castles of the region declined. The villages along the Tagus then became important fluvial ports for the transport of agricultural goods of the region to Lisbon. In the 16th century, the port of the village of Tancos became the most important of all, being granted a foral (letter of feudal rights) in 1517 by King Manuel I. From the early 16th century date the main church (matriz) of the village of Atalaia, with a magnificent portal and interior in Renaissance style.
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