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The “Ghost Town” of Vilarinho da Furna

Any Interesting Place Names in Portugal? You betcha!

Portugal has its share of places with interesting names, which are often corruptions of ancient Roman or pre-Roman names.
In northeastern Portugal, on the Douro River facing Spain, stands the 14th century town of Freixo de Espada á Cinta. This name could mean, "An ash tree with a sword at its belt." It might be named after the ancient warrior, Freixo. Some say the name is Visigoth in origin, based on the word Espadacinta. Most likely, it is named for King Dinis, as a warning that the town was well defended.
In the Centro Region of Portugal, five towns within a few dozen miles of each other seem to have competition over their medieval castles. In the mountains near the Spanish border are Castelo Mendo (Mendos Castle), Castelo Branco (White Castle), Castelo Novo (New Castle), Castelo Bom (Good Castle) and Castelo Melhor (Better Castle).


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