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The DOURO (Portuguese : Douro
Douro
; Spanish : Duero ; Latin : Durius) is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula , flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain
Spain
and Portugal
Portugal
to its outlet at Porto
Porto
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 2 Geography

* 2.1 Human geography

* 3 Economy

* 3.1 Dams

* 4 Gallery * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links

HISTORY

A 1908 image of boats along the Douro
Douro
River
River

The Latinized name Durius, likely came from the Celtic tribes that inhabited the area before Roman times: the Celtic root is *dubro-. In modern Welsh , dŵr is "water," as well as dour in modern Breton with cognate dobhar in Irish . In Roman times, the river was personified as a god, Durius .

The Douro
Douro
vinhateiro (winegrowing), an area of the Douro Valley in Portugal
Portugal
long devoted to vineyards, has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site . Traditionally, the wine was taken downriver in flat-bottom boats called rabelos , to be stored in barrels in cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia , just across the river from Porto
Porto
. In the 1960s and 1970s, dams with locks were built along the river, allowing river traffic from the upper regions in Spain
Spain
and along the border. Nowadays Port wine
Port wine
is transported to Vila Nova de Gaia in tanker trucks.

In 1998, Portugal
Portugal
and Spain
Spain
signed the Albufeira Convention, an agreement on the sharing of trans-boundary rivers to include the Douro, Tagus
Tagus
and Guadiana
Guadiana
. The convention superseded an original agreement on the Douro, signed in 1927, that was expanded in 1964 and 1968 to include tributaries.

GEOGRAPHY

A SPOT Satellite image of the Douro
Douro
River
River
Profile of the Douro
Douro
River, from its source in the mountains of the Sistema Ibérico to Foz do Douro

It is the third-longest river in the Iberian Peninsula after the Tagus
Tagus
and Ebro
Ebro
. Its total length is 897 kilometres (557 mi), of which only sections of the Portuguese extension below the fall line are navigable, by light rivercraft.

In its Spanish section, the Douro
Douro
crosses the great Castilian meseta and meanders through five provinces of the autonomous community of Castile and León
Castile and León
: Soria
Soria
, Burgos , Valladolid
Valladolid
, Zamora , and Salamanca , passing through the towns of Soria
Soria
, Almazán
Almazán
, Aranda de Duero , Tordesillas , and Zamora .

In this region, there are few tributaries of the Douro. The most important are the Pisuerga
Pisuerga
, passing through Valladolid
Valladolid
, and the Esla , which passes through Zamora . This region is generally semi-arid plains, with wheat and in some places, especially near Aranda de Duero , with vineyards , in the Ribera del Duero wine region. Sheep
Sheep
rearing is also still important.

The drainage basin borders those of Miño to the north, Ebro
Ebro
to the east, and Tajo to the south.

For 112 kilometres (70 mi), the river forms part of the national border line between Spain
Spain
and Portugal, in a region of narrow canyons . It formed a historical barrier to invasions, creating a cultural/linguistic divide. In these isolated areas, in which the Aldeadávila Dam
Dam
impounds the river, there are protected areas: the International Douro Natural Park (on the Portuguese side) and the Arribes del Duero Natural Park (on the Zamoran margin).

The Douro
Douro
fully enters Portuguese territory just after the confluence with the Águeda River
River
; once the Douro
Douro
enters Portugal, major population centres are less frequent along the river. Except for Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia at the river mouth, the only population centres of any note are Foz do Tua , Pinhão and Peso da Régua
Peso da Régua
. Tributaries here are small, merging into the Douro
Douro
along the canyons; the most important are Côa , Tua , Sabor , Corgo , Tavora , Paiva , Tâmega , and Sousa . None of these small, fast-flowing rivers is navigable.

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

Major Spanish riverside towns include Soria
Soria
, Almazán
Almazán
, Aranda de Duero , Tordesillas , Zamora and major Portuguese towns include Miranda do Douro
Miranda do Douro
, Foz Côa , Peso da Régua
Peso da Régua
, Lamego , Vila Nova de Gaia , and Porto
Porto
. The most populous cities along the Douro
Douro
River
River
are Valladolid
Valladolid
and Zamora in Spain, and Porto
Porto
and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. The latter two are located at the mouth of the Douro
Douro
at the Atlantic Ocean.

In Portugal, the Douro
Douro
flows through the districts of Bragança , Guarda , Viseu , Vila Real , Aveiro and Porto
Porto
. Porto
Porto
is the main hub city in northern Portugal. Its historic centre has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its significant architecture and history.

ECONOMY

These reaches of the Douro
Douro
have a microclimate allowing for cultivation of olives , almonds , and especially grapes , which are important for making the famous Port wine
Port wine
. The region around Pinhão and São João da Pesqueira is considered to be the centre of Port wine, with its quintas (or farms/estates) that extend along the steep slopes of the river valleys. In the 21st century, many of these quintas are owned by multinational wine companies.

Recently, a prosperous tourist industry has developed based on river excursions from Porto
Porto
to points along the Upper Douro
Douro
valley.

The Douro railway line (in Portuguese: Linha do Douro) was completed in 1887; it connects Porto, Rio Tinto, Ermesinde, Valongo, Paredes, Penafiel, Livração, Marco de Canaveses, Régua, Tua and Pocinho. Pocinho is near the city of Foz Côa, which is close to Côa Valley Paleolithic Art site. This is considered important to the archaeological pre-historic patrimony, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

DAMS

Fifteen dams have been built on the Douro
Douro
to regulate the water flow, generate hydroelectric power , and allow navigation through locks . Beginning at the headwaters, the first five dams are in Spain: Cuerda del Pozo , Los Rábanos , San José , Villalcampo and Castro Dams . The next five downstream are along the Portuguese-Spanish border; the first three are owned and operated by Portugal: (Miranda , Picote and Bemposta Dams ), while the next two belong to Spain: (Aldeadávila and Saucelle Dams ).

The Douro's last five dams are in Portugal, and allow for navigation: Pocinho , Valeira , Régua , Carrapatelo and Crestuma-Lever Dams . Vessels with a maximum length of 83 metres (272 ft) and width of 11.4 metres (37 ft) can pass through the five locks . The highest lock, at Carrapatelo Dam, has a maximum lift of 35 metres (115 ft). The waters of Pocinho lake reach 125 metres (410 ft) above sea level.

GALLERY

*

The Douro
Douro
in Zamora ( Spain
Spain
) *

The Pisuerga
Pisuerga
River
River
(tributary to the Duero) in Valladolid
Valladolid
*

The Upper Douro
Douro
valley where Port wine
Port wine
grapes grow *

The typical rabelo boat and Porto
Porto
historical district in background *

Port wine