The Tagus (Spanish: Tajo; Portuguese: Tejo) is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. It is 1,038 km (645 miles) long, 716 km (445 miles) in Spain, 47 km (29 miles) along the border between Portugal and Spain and 275 km (171 miles) in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon.
The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course. Several dams and diversions supply drinking water to most of central Spain, including Madrid, and Portugal, while dozens of hydroelectric stations create power. Between dams it follows a very constricted course, but after Almourol it enters a vast alluvial valley prone to flooding. At its mouth is a large estuary on which the port city of Lisbon is situated.
Song and story
The Tagus is mentioned in the songs and stories of the Portuguese. A popular fado song in Lisbon notes that while people get older, the Tagus remains young ("My hair getting white, the Tagus is always young"). The author, Fernando Pessoa, wrote a poem that begins: "The Tagus is more beautiful than the river that flows through my village..."