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Covilha

3.5
Landmarks · Specialty Museums · Monuments
Covilhã is a city and a municipality in the Centro region, Portugal. The city proper had 34,772 inhabitants in 2001. The municipality population in 2011 was 51,797, in an area of 555.60 km². It is located in the Cova da Beira subregion and the district of Castelo Branco. The municipal holiday is October 20.Sometimes referred to as town of wool and snow, Covilhã is one of the main urban centres of the historical Beira Interior region. The proximity of the mountains offers dramatic scenery and a great environment for those fond of hiking, camping, mountain climbing and skiing.History and landmarksIts history dates back to the days when it was a pre-historical settlement, a shelter for Lusitanian shepherds, and a Roman fortress known as Cava Juliana or Silia Hermínia. The region of Beira Interior, where the city of Covilhã is located, is rich in historical places. Due to its strategic potential, its mountains were used to build castles for both attack and defence purposes. Covilhã was granted foral in 1186 by king Sancho I of Portugal, who also built the castle walls. The old quarters of the city have narrow cobblestone streets; pedestrians are challenged permanently by the ups and downs of most of the streets in the city.A school-factory was built by Fernando de Meneses, 2nd Count of Ericeira, in 1681. On November 1, 1755, Covilhã was shaken by the forces of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake that destroyed part of Covilhã's castle walls and its large towers. A Royal Textile Factory, was established in the city by the Marquis of Pombal in 1763, and Covilhã was granted city status on 20 October 1870 by king Luís I of Portugal. Along the two streams that cross the city there are still remains of the old textile factories, which bear witness to the unquestionable importance of this industry for Covilhã's economy, once known as the "Portuguese Manchester".
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