A single religion and a single language have contributed to this ethnic and national unity. Portugal was the last western European nation to give up its colonies and overseas territories, turning over the administration of Macau to China as recently as 1999. Its colonial history has been fundamental to national identity, as has its geographic position at the margin of Europe looking out to the Atlantic. Portugal has retained linguistic and other cultural ties with former colonies, including Brazil. In 1996 the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries was created. A recently-arrived population of immigrants, most from former colonies in Africa and Asia, has introduced some ethnic diversity, particularly in the Lisbon metropolitan area. These populations are residentially segregated in neighborhoods with poor housing and a general absence of public amenities. They are subjected to a form of subtle racism within a society that views itself as anti-racist. Portugal’s gypsy population, estimated at about 100,000, offers another element of ethnic diversity. The gypsies live apart, and primarily in the south. They can often be found at rural markets selling clothing and handicrafts. Portugal also has small Protestant and Jewish communities, largely composed of foreigners.
The hallmark of Portuguese architecture are azulejos, glazed ceramic tiles that cover the facades and interiors of churches, government buildings, and private homes. Azulejos were introduced by the Moors. Both geometric and representational patterns are used, the latter often depicting historical events or religious scenes. The azulejos style was taken to colonial Brazil and to India, and has been adopted by returned emigrants who have built new houses across the landscape of northern and central Portugal as social statements of their success abroad. Akin to azulejos are the mosaics used on the sidewalks of major walking avenues in Lisbon and Porto as well as in provincial towns. These avenues, lined with cafés and teahouses, are important public spaces where people stroll and converse. Stucco in various pastels is used on buildings, including the main government buildings in Lisbon.
The other distinctive style of architecture is known as Manueline, after King Manuel I. It is a form of ornamentation that mixes elements of Christianity with ropes, shells, and other aquatic imagery, reflecting the nation’s seafaring past.
Vernacular buildings in rural areas use local materials. In the north, traditional peasant houses, often with two stories and a red tubular clay tile roof, were built with thick granite walls. Animals were kept on the ground floor, which also was used for storage. Many of these houses had verandas.
Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and who serves as captain of the Portuguese national team. He became the most expensive footballer in history after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth £80 million (€93.9 million/$131.6 million).
Mariza was born to a Portuguese father and a mother of partial African heritage. At age three, her family moved to Metropolitan Portugal, and she was raised in Lisbon’s historic quarters of Mouraria and Alfama. While very young she began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul and jazz. Her father strongly encouraged her to adopt fado; he felt that participating in the traditional music would grant her greater acceptance in the Portuguese community. Mariza has sold over 1,000,000 records worldwide.
All had a big hearth in the kitchen with an overhanging chimney used to smoke hams and sausage as well as to cook and heat. The kitchen is the center of private family space; these houses often also contain a parlor for receiving guests. In the south one-story, whitewashed, flat-roofed houses with blue trim around the windows and doorways are common.
This form of architecture evokes the Moorish past. These houses, which are built to keep out the summer heat, have huge chimneys and hearths. Since the 1970s, new housing and large apartment complexes have been built to accommodate the growing urban population.The cuisine varies by region. The north is known for caldo verde , a kale and potato soup generally flavored with a slice of chouriço, spicy sausage. Also important are grilled sardines. The traditional bread, especially in the northwest, is broa , a grainy corn bread with a thick crust. In Minho, the traditional wine is vinho verde , a young wine made from grapes that grow on arbors that often serve as property markers. In the northeastern region of Trás-os-Montes, fresh and cured pork, is used in a number of dishes.
A stew of mixed meats and vegetables called cozido a` portuguesa originated in this region and has become a national dish. In central Portugal, cheeses are more common because of pasturing in the Serra da Estrela and fish, including octupus, squid, and eel, is abundant. In the south, the most popular soup is a form of gazpacho with bread and smoked pork. A pork and clam stew cooked in a cataplana, a tightly sealed steamer, is the regional dish of the Alentejo. Olive oil , or azeite, is used throughout the country. Bacalhau, salt cod, has been a national dish since the fifteenth century, when the Portuguese began fishing off the coast of Newfoundland. Pastéis de bacalhau , or codfish croquettes, are a popular appetizer. Important seasoning are cumin and piri-piri, a hot red chili often used to season barbecued chicken. Cinnamon is a common flavoring for desserts, such as the traditional rice pudding , called arroz doce.