In all municipalities imposing manor houses emerged, showing family coats on the main facades and adopting the most diverse architectural and artistic styles.
It was also in the 18th century that a significant increase in the construction or rebuilding of churches, chapels, shrines and ordeals, evenly distributed in all municipalities of Montanhas Mágicas® took place.
With only a few exceptions, it is impossible to define just one artistic or architectural style to these religious monuments, since they reflect various styles, allowing the visitor to travel in time by observing characteristics of various periods in only one building. It should be noted that a high number of churches and chapels are classified as real Estate or Public Interest Monuments and, in smaller numbers, as National Monuments.
One of the main events from the early 20th century, and that marked the history of Montanhas Mágicas®, was the race for wolfram used in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition during the I and II World Wars. The history of mine prospection in Regoufe, Rio de Frades, Moimenta, Chãs and Fraga da Venda was thus inevitably linked to the history of Europe and the world. The ruins of the mining heritage and the memory of the men who lived near this reality constitute a tangible and intangible heritage of inestimable value.
Likewise, Couto Mineiro do Pejão (Mining Complex), in Castelo de Paiva, from which millions of tons of coal were extracted between the mid-19th century and the end of the 20th century, and the Braçal, Malhada and Coval da Mó Mines in Sever do Vouga, where hydrothermal veins rich in zinc, silver and, especially, lead were explored, played an important key role in the local economic, social and cultural development.
Agriculture, forestry, grazing and livestock have always been essential to the survival of the people settled here and for the economic development of this vast territory. Although the recent decades have witnessed a dramatic abandonment of farming and grazing, the ancestral history of these activities in the Montanhas Mágicas®, reveal a wide rural built heritage (villages, watermills, oil mills, mills, “levadas”, irrigation systems, “canastros”, threshing floors, “mariolas”, among others), and a rich and diverse cultural heritage that is present in uses and customs, traditions, folklore, dances, singing, gastronomy, arts and crafts and much more. From the ancestral land cultivation, which has been through a long period of stagnation and today begins to gain new strength, we would like to highlight some recognized quality products, such as the local Arouquesa meat (PDO), the Gralheira Kid Meat (IGP), Vinho Verde (Verde Wine) (DOC), the Wines of Lafões (DOP), and, more recently, the wild berries, especially the blueberries. It is also worth mentioning the convent sweets which are a legacy of the Arouca Monastery Cistercian nuns, and the regional sweets, with unique characteristics in each municipality, the liqueurs, jams, honey and smoked meats.
With regard to the personalities, from the 18th century, of historical relevance in this territory, the
first Count of Castelo de Paiva was particularly important, Dom Martinho Pinto Lencastre of Bouillon, responsible for the progress and development of the municipality.
From the late 19th century it is worth mentioning the illustrious Portuguese soldier, explorer and colonial administrator, born in Cinfães, Alexandre Serpa Pinto, for his importance in the history of Portugal and of the World. The museum devoted to him in Cinfães has an extraordinary legacy, which includes, among others, the first editions of his books, telegrams, personal and professional belongings and also uniforms. There is also a garden and a statue in his honor near the Church of Cinfães.
When considering important historical episodes at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21th century, we highlight the elevation to town of Vale de Cambra and S. Pedro do Sul, in May 1993 and June 2009.
This historical overview is, of course, far away from reporting all the moments, events, personalities and monuments, that enhance the history of the Montanhas Mágicas® municipalities. That is not the purpose and it wouldn’t be possible in such a short period of time, especially because there are seven municipalities with a long and rich history. However, this brief review will help you understand a little bit of the local history, especially that associated with archaeological sites, monuments, museums and other sites suggested to be visited in this guide. Besides, it will raise the interest of local authors to deepen their knowledge about the local history through books and historical publications.