Beja, Portugal - Encyclopedia

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BEJA (probably the ancient Pax Julia), the capital of an administrative district formerly included in the province of Alemtejo, Portugal; situated 95 m. S.S.E. of Lisbon by the Lisbon-Faro railway, and at the head of a branch line to Pias e Orada (3855), 26 m. E. Pop. (1900) 8885. Beja is an episcopal city, built on an isolated hill, and partly enclosed by walls of Roman origin; on the south it has a fine Roman gateway. Its cathedral is modern, but the citadel, with its beautiful Gothic tower of white marble,' was founded by King Diniz (1279-1325). The city is surrounded by far-reaching plains, known as the Campo de Beja, and devoted partly to the cultivation of grain and fruit, partly to the breeding of cattle and pigs; copper, iron and manganese are also mined to a small extent, and Beja is the central market for all these products. Cloth, pottery and olive oil are manufactured in the city.

The administrative district of Beja, the largest and most thinly-populated district in Portugal, coincides with the southern part of Alemtejo; pop. (1900) 163,612; area, 3958 sq. m.; 413 inhabitants per sq. m.

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