Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a relatively modern settlement that was rebuilt in 1774 after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami by the Marquês de Pombal. The grid plan of the city center is similar to the layout of the Baixa district in Lisbon. Vila Real's central, 18th century, tree-lined square is named Marques de Pombal de sa after the great man. The square contains the Câmara Municipal (Town Hall) and the box-like Parish Church with a Rococo-style altar within.
The square is a gathering place especially at night during the summer when table football and other children's games are in evidence. Visitors wander the surrounding streets of Rua Dr. Teofilo Braga and Rua 5 Outubro viewing the many restaurants or wander down to the river bank for the breeze.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.