In the Most south-east part of Europe, between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, Portugal has a mild climate and a pleasant nature, a mirror of its people’s temperament.
Ancient towns, churches, monasteries, castles and palaces testify, from north to south, over eight hundred centuries, shadowed by battles, a forced political alliance to Spain, three French invasions, internal wars, political intrigues and more recently, over fifty years of a totalitarian political regime.
The diversity is patent in the profound differences from region to region – the north with its high mountains and the south with its flat lands; the blue sky and the brilliant sun of the coastal regions, the green and brown colors of the inland regions – more even because of the numerous provinces into which the country is divided. These are grouped into seven main promotional tourist zones, divided in this way because of their differences in climate, landscape, rhythm of life and also the differences in its people’s temperament and customs – the popular Festivities, dances and chants, the type of habitation, the costumes, the gastronomy, the workmanship and the traditional games.
The contrast and the duality are always present in the Portuguese culture. Portugal has integrated two words: one that is mountainous and which tendencies are seafaring (this is present even in the name of the country -– Portugal – a word that initially designated a fluvial maritime port.)
Thus, approximately 500 years ago, Portugal cast itself into the "Discoveries". In search of the unknown it broadened the knowledge of the world and of man. By reaching India , China , Japan and Brazil , it made between the Occident and the Orient possible. It opened up closed and isolated continents. The universal period of mankind started then. Intellectually, technically and scientifically the continents started to communicate.
Portugal , however, never turned its back to its origins – the land – always keeping its rural culture. It is between these two poles – the land and the sea – that the destinies of its people are played. (Extracted from “Jogos Tradicionais do Ribatejo”)