Arouca is a town and a municipality in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, Norte Region, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 22,359, in an area of 329.11km2. It had 20,383 electors in 2006. The population has grown from 7072 inhabitants in 1801.The entire territory of Arouca is "Arouca Geopark" which is a member of the European Geoparks Network and Global Geoparks Network on account of its outstanding geological heritage, educational programs and projects, and promotion of geotourism.HistoryThe territory that became Arouca was settled by vestiges of pre-historic tribes, but it was in the Roman occupation that the first artifacts associated with settlement first appeared. From archaeological excavations, it is known that the area was settled late in the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula (due to its distance from coastal and North-South accesses). From local toponomy, the permanence of Germanic tribes is evident; names such as Sá, Saril, Alvarenga, Burgo, Escariz, Friães and Melareses, are examples of this influence.Following Moorish invasion more information began to be recorded in this region. Christian settlements that existed within the area were abandoned during this time, and moved to other northern access points. These settlements later returned following the Reconquista, when instability in the region disappeared. The history of Arouca, therefore, only became available with the founding and growth of the Monastery of Arouca, culminating in the religious life of D. Mafalda, daughter of the second King, D. Sancho I. It was this monastery, which for many centuries, that the populous of the region depended. The monastery was erected in the 10th century, in the invocation of Saint Peter, by two noblemen: Loderigo and Vandilo, from Moldes. The primitive building was nothing more than a simple dwelling, supporting a complement of monks and nuns.