On a map, Portugal seems like a small neighbour to its Spanish co-habitants of the Iberian Peninsula, but culturally this nation holds its own. The Portuguese know how to grab the attention of its visitors not only through its long and impressive history, but also through its literature and distinctive music style.
Portugal has had a long and interesting history, both on its own Iberian soil, but certainly also as a naval and colonial power over the last couple of centuries. This has undoubtedly brought a lot of flavours and influences into the country and is very well reflected in its culture.
Above all other contemporary Portuguese writers stands Jose Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. His political convictions brought him into occasional conflict with the Catholic church, but it is for his beautiful style of writing that Saramago has managed to propel himself into international recognition. In poetry, Portugal can be proud of being the origin of Lisbon-native Fernando Pessoa, whose literary work is often regarded worldwide as being of the highest standard.
Another well-known component of Portuguese culture is the musical aspect known as the Fado.A genre specific only to this country, it has a large number of notable performers. Mozambique-born Mariza is a modern and highly successful singer of the Fado and the band Madredeus is also worth a good listen as they often try to blend various Portuguese styles.