Definitions

Serra da Estrella

Serra da Estrela

[ser-ah dah i-shtre-lah]

Serra da Estrela (English: Mountain Range of the Star) is the highest mountain range in Portugal and includes mainland Portugal's highest point (the summit of the Pico mountain in the Portuguese Azores islands is higher, however). The range is at 1,993 m (around 6,541 feet) above mean sea level at its highest point. This point is not a distinctive mountain summit, but rather the highest point in a plateau, being known as Torre ("Tower" in English). The Torre has the unusual feature of being a summit that is accessible by paved road.

There is a ski resort at the summit, named Vodafone Ski Resort.

The mountain range, situated between the municipalities of Seia, Manteigas, Gouveia, Guarda and Covilhã, is about 100 km (62.13 miles) long and is 30 km (18.64 miles) at its widest point. It is formed from a huge granite ridge that once formed the southern frontier of the country. Due to its bizarrely shaped crags and gorges, mountain streams and lakes, beautiful forests and magnificent views, the area ranks among Portugal’s outstanding scenic attractions.

Rivers

There are three rivers that have their headwaters in the Serra da Estrela: the Mondego, which is the biggest river entirely within Portuguese territory; and the Zêzere, which is a tributary to the Tagus; a tributary of the Mondego, the Alva also has its headwaters in the range.

Nature Park

The mountain range is now part of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park and offers plentiful skiing opportunities in the ski resort of Lorigã,Seia municipality.

Serra da Estrela dog

The Cão da Serra da Estrela (Estrela Mountain Dog) is a breed of livestock guardian dog that takes its name from this region.

Serra da Estrela cheese

Queijo Serra da Estrela (Serra da Estrela cheese) is an hard cheese from the region of Serra da Estrela.

History, legends and myths

A legend associated with the mountain is mentioned in chapter 41 of the American literary classic, Moby-Dick:

"... the prodigies related in old times of the inland Strello mountain in Portugal (near whose top there was said to be a lake in which the wrecks of ships floated up to the surface)..."

Gallery

External links

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