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Photographer's Note

The Douro has a microclimate allowing for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes important for making the famous Port wine. The region around Pinhão and São João da Pesqueira is considered to be the centre of Port wine, with its picturesque quintas or farms clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river. Many of these quintas are owned by multinational wine companies and are worth a visit.

Traditionally, the wine was taken down river in flat-bottom boats called rabelos, to be stored in barrels in cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. In the 1950s and 1960s dams were built along the river ending this river traffic. There are nine dams on the Portuguese Douro alone making the flow of water uniform and generating hydroelectric power. Now Port wine is transported in tanker trucks.

Recently, a prosperous tourist industry has developed based on river excursions from Porto to points along the Upper Douro valley. Boats pass through the dams by way of locks.

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Additional Photos by Afonso Neves (adalfons) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 36 W: 13 N: 26] (281)
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