Marinha Grande Municipality
|• Mayor||Álvaro Pereira (PS)|
|• Total||187.1 km2 (72.2 sq mi)|
|• Density||203/km2 (530/sq mi)|
|Municipal holiday||Ascension Day
Marinha Grande (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐˈɾiɲɐ ˈɣɾɐ̃d(ɨ)]) is a municipality in the Leiria District, Portugal. The municipality has a population of 38,030 and a total area of 187.1 km². The city itself has a population of 30,000.
The town is composed of three parishes: Vieira de Leiria, Marinha Grande, and Moita. It is located right in the middle of the 700 year old Leiria pine forest covering 100 square kilometres, and near exquisite beaches such as Praia da Vieira, Nazaré, and São Pedro de Moel.
The present Mayor is Álvaro Pereira, elected by the Socialist Party.
The municipal holiday is Ascension Day.
- Marinha Grande
- Vieira de Leiria
The Marinha Grande glass manufacturing industry was first established in the middle of the 18th century. The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by an English entrpreneur William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal. The wood from the pine forest was used to fuel the factories. The former palacial home of William Stephens now contains the Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande which houses glassware from the 17th-20th centuries. In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country's main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.
Marinha Grande is Portugal's biggest glass manufacturer, and it is also the European capital for the moulding industry, with 250 companies operating there, rightfully giving the town the nickname 'The Crystal City'.
The pine forest is an aromatic forest and has waymarked paths for walkers. It has several campsites within it. There is a cycle route from Marinha Grande to São Pedro de Moel on the coast. There are tours around the glass works and to the glass museums.
Hugo Gaspar, notable Portuguese volleyballl player was born in Vieira de Leiria.