Marinha Grande is also known as the glass capital (90% of the national glass production was made here). Now most of the Factories are closed, but we still produce artwork and decorative glass worldwide.
The Royal Glass Factory is located in the Stephens Palace, Marinha Grande and it as been converted into a Library, Municipal archives, Glass shop, Glass Museum and Artistic School.
The Stephens palace was the residence of the English industrialist Guilherme Stephens, it was built in the second half of the 18th century. The buildings have a neo-classical inspiration; in 1796 Guilherme Stephens re-open the Marinha Grande Royal Glass Factory which for many years produced glass art for the royalty.
In 13 December 1998 the Glass museum is inaugurated during the 250 years of the glass industry commemorations. The Museum, collects, preserves, teaches and studies the historic heritage and glass-making. You can visit the glass collection, technical instruments collection and the machine collection.
The Stephens palace is very well preserved and it is a very beautiful place, located right in the middle of the city center. In the middle of the Stephens palace you can find the amazing Tardoz Garden and a Theater in the same neo-classical style.
The glass-making industry helped Marinha Grande becoming a city, it used to be a very small village but its proximity to the pine grove and beach sand made it the perfect place to produce glass, giving employment to most of the Marinha Grande population; after a period of crisis many of the glass factories closed but some still work today producing mass consumption glass (ex: bottles for beer) artwork and decorative glass.