Faro, Praia de Alvor Live Cam

With its sands stretching on over the horizon


Hosted by:
  • Restinga
  • Praia de Alvor, 8501-906
  • Apartado 67, Alvor, Faro - Portugal
  • [email protected]
  • +351 282 459 434
  • https://restinga.pt/

Portugal Geography

Portugal is situated on the most south-western point of the European continent, which much influences on geography of the country. This state shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, comprising the 15 per cent of its territory. The total area of Portugal is 89, 261 square km, but the mainland is not the only area of the national authority. In particular, the country of Portugal also includes the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, which are located in the Atlantic Ocean. To be detailed, the Azores are 1500 km away from Lisbon and are represented with nine small islands, divided into three groups: western, central and eastern arches. 1000 km away from the continent Madeira archipelago counts three major islands – Madeira, Porto Santo and the Desertas; they are accompanied by lots of uninhabited small isles. The southern coast of the country is washed by the Strait of Gibraltar.

Relief of Portugal is mostly mountainous, as Pyrenees cover most of the peninsula territory. Especially, it is related to the northern part of Portugal. Lowlands and slight hills prevail in central and southern regions. On the east they are limited by plateau with the average altitudes of 600-1000 meters. The highest point of Portuguese mainland is the mountain range of Serra da Estrela - 1993 meters high. On the contrary, the highest peak of the whole national territory is located on the Azores; it is Mount Pico (2351 meters).Speaking of the Portuguese archipelagos, it is impossible not to underline their volcanic origin, which is preconditioned the dominance of mountain terrain. The coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, both on the continent and on the islands, are low-lying and sandy.

Portugal can be characterized by a dense river system. Among the most important river basins there are Douro as the longest one (322 km), Tejo as the natural border between northern and southern part of the country (277 km), Guadiana with Alqueva dam (260 km). Most of the river flows are rain-fed streams. Rivers typically take place in narrow deep valleys in the mountains and have a steep drop. Their banks are often represented with grasslands. In particular, most of the streams start in the Spanish mountains, crossing the territory of Portugal and falling into the Atlantic Ocean. The three main lakes are located on the Azores Islands, which include Santiago formed in the volcanic crater, Lagoa das Sete Cidades (a twin-lake) and Lagoa do Fogo (also a crater lake). All of them are located on São Miguel Island.

The climate of Portugal features a mild winter with a hot summer. The amount of precipitations decreases to the south. The subtropical climate encourages the cultivation of oil trees massively.

As it was mentioned Portugal is naturally divided into north and south, which could not but find its reflection in the wildlife. Particularly, the north is a total resemblance to the animal world of the Central Europe with such species as foxes, martens, wolves, etc. The southern part significantly experienced African influence. For instance, species of chameleon, genet and civet has come from the Black continent. Lots of lizards and reptiles are also one of the southern features.

Portugal History

Until the Middle Ages, the history of Portugal might be characterized by alternate colonization of the Iberian Peninsula. Celts were the first ones to establish the settlements on these lands; they resided in the north and the Lusitanian tribes, on the contrary, inhabited the southern part. Later, the Iberian Peninsula was colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks, Moors, Romans and Western Goths (Visigoths), who eventually assimilated after Roman Emperors spread their authority. Especially, the biggest influence was made by Moors in the 8th century, who defined much cultural, architect and agricultural peculiarities of the contemporary state. The basis of modern Portugal was formed in 868, when the County of Portugal emerged as a vassal of the Kingdom of Leon. This period is marked by a close connection to Spain, Castile predominantly.

In 1139 the Kingdom of Portugal was proclaimed and its first monarch was Afonso I of Portugal, who was the son of Henry of Burgundy, the founder of Burgundy Dynasty on these lands. In 1179 the independence of Portugal was recognized by the Pope. During the next ages, the history of Portugal encloses the Reconquista period, which ended with Moors’ withdrawal in the 13th century. Portugal was the first Iberian kingdom to overcome Moors’ distribution. In addition, it was the period of the Portuguese cultural breakthrough, when the official language - Portuguese was established, Lisboan became a well-known European center, the trade agreements with England were signed and the national fleet was formed.

In 1385 the House of Aviz took the monarchy in hands. During their rule a lot was done in the territorial expansion and cultural development of Portuguese Kingdom. First, in 1418 and 1427 Portuguese sailors discovered Madeira and the Azores, and attached them to Portugal. Second, the multiple attempts were made to conquer the Moroccan lands of Africa, particularly Ceuta and Tangier, which were accomplished by the King John II of Portugal, who took the control over the African colonies (in Morocco and Guinea) by the end of the 15th century.

These military actions were also sanctioned by the Pope, who also allowed to keep Africans in thrall. Third, in the 15th century, the territorial expansion of Portugal was enlarged by Henry the Navigator, an infant of the Kingdom. Portuguese sailors established the trade affairs and the monarch’s rule in India, Brazil and Far East. In the 17th century under the rule of King John IV, Dutch people were driven out of Brazil and this territory was completely authorized by the Iberian Kingdom.

The prosperity of Kingdom of Portugal lasted until the Spanish King Philipp II acceded Portuguese throne in 1580. During the 60 years Portugal was the province of Spain and it was enough to destroy the achievements of the previous rulers. In addition, the default of the Portuguese economy and culture was enhanced by Lisboan earthquake in 1755.

The 18th century is marked by an unsuccessful attempt of Napoleon’s army to conquer Portuguese lands, but it was opposed by the English-Portuguese Alliance. However, in 1807 the capital of Portugal was shifted to Rio de Janeiro, as all the royal court moved to Brazil for 13 years. King John VI ruled over Portugal from Brazil.

By the end of the 19th century the republican movement covered all the country, which led to the establishment of the first republic of Portugal after the revolution in 1910. The democracy was kept until 1926, when the authoritarian regime was announced after the military takeover. In 1932 the authority was taken by António de Oliveira Salazar, whose rule might be considered as the darkest years for the state. They are characterized by preserving neutrality during World War II, the loss of the Portuguese colonies on other continents, the crisis of internal policy and joining the powerful European organizations (like NATO in 1949). In 1974 the democracy was returned.

The end of the 20th century was the period of the Portuguese economic, social and cultural development, considering its membership in the EU since 1986. In 2002 the country was added to the Eurozone. The cultural breakthrough of Portugal is testified by hosting Euro-2004 Football Championship. Portugal entered the 21st century with pretty stable and growing economic indicators, but due to the financial crisis it became one of the weakest countries in Europe in 2010.