Aveiro's traditions are closely tied to the sea and to the Ria de Aveiro, the vast, shallow lagoon that fans out to the north and west of town. Salt is extracted from the sea here, and kelp is harvested for use as fertilizer. Swan-necked moliceiros (kelp boats) still glide along canals that run through Aveiro's center, giving rise to its comparison to Venice. In much of the older part of town, sidewalks and squares are paved with calçada (traditional Portuguese hand-laid pavement) in intricate nautical patterns. The town's most attractive buildings date from the latter half of the 17th century. Over the last few years, a massive restoration project has transformed the old fishermen's quarter, just off the main canal, into a delightful little area of small bars and restaurants. A central market square hosts live entertainment during the summer months.
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