Guimarães (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɡimɐˈɾɐ̃jʃ]) is a
city and municipality located in northern Portugal, in the district of
Braga. Its historic town centre is listed as
UNESCO World Heritage
Site since 2001, in recognition for being an "exceptionally
well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval
settlement into a modern town" in Europe.
Guimarães is also a part of the
Ave Subregion (one of the most
industrialised subregions in the country), as well as the historical
Minho Province. The city has a population of 52,181 inhabitants.
The population of the municipality in 2011 was 158,124, in an area
of 240.95 square kilometres (93.03 sq mi). The current
Mayor is Domingos Bragança, of the Socialist Party. The municipality
is bordered to the north by the municipality of Póvoa de Lanhoso, to
the east by Fafe, to the south by Felgueiras,
Vizela and Santo Tirso,
to the west by
Vila Nova de Famalicão
Vila Nova de Famalicão and the northwest by Braga.
The city was settled in the 9th century, at which time it was called
Vimaranes. This denomination might have had its origin in the warrior
Vímara Peres, who chose this area as the main government seat for the
Portugal which he conquered for the Kingdom of Galicia.
Guimarães has a significant historical importance due to the role it
played in the foundation of Portugal. The city is often referred to as
the "birthplace of the Portuguese nationality" or "the cradle city"
(Cidade Berço in Portuguese) because it is widely believed that
Portugal's first King, Afonso Henriques, was born there, and also due
to the fact that the
Battle of São Mamede
Battle of São Mamede - which is considered the
seminal event for the foundation of the Kingdom of
Portugal - was
fought in the vicinity of the city.
For some decades,
Guimarães was the capital of the County of
Portugal, however, shortly after the
Battle of São Mamede
Battle of São Mamede (1128), and
due to the needs of the Reconquista,
Coimbra became the kingdom's
The inhabitants of
Guimarães are often called "Vimaranenses" and
"Conquistadores" (the Conquerors) in relation with the historical
heritage of the conquest initiated in Guimarães.
Guimarães, along with Maribor, Slovenia, was the European Capital of
Culture in 2012.
1.1 Pre- and protohistory
1.2 From the foundation of
Guimarães to the foundation of Portugal
1.3 Middle Ages
1.4 Modern and contemporary
2.2 Orography and hydrography
3.2 Traditions and festivities
3.3 Museums, cultural spaces and art galleries
6 International relations
7 Notable people
7.1 Medieval and Early Modern
7.2 Late Modern
8 External links
The Oliveira square, in the historical center of Guimarães, with the
Padrão do Salado on the left
The History of
Guimarães is associated with the foundation and
identity of the Portuguese nationality. Guimarães, as well as other
settlements, precedes the foundation of
Portugal and because of its
role in the foundation of the country it is known as the "cradle of
the Portuguese nationality". In 1128, major political and military
events that would lead to the independence and the birth of a new
nation took place in Guimarães. For this reason, in one of the old
towers of the city's old wall it is written "Aqui nasceu Portugal"
Portugal was born here).
Pre- and protohistory
According to archeological findings in Citânia (Castro) of Briteiros
and Sabroso and Penha's archeologic site, the area in which Guimarães
is located has had permanent settlements since the late Chalcolithic
There is also evidence of Roman occupation, and a stone dedicated to
the Roman emperor
Trajan found in
Caldas das Taipas
Caldas das Taipas suggests that this
was already a spa town in Roman times.
From the foundation of
Guimarães to the foundation of Portugal
Statue of Mumadona Dias, in front of the city court.
Reconquista policy promoted by the
Kingdom of Galicia
Kingdom of Galicia in
the 9th century, the medieval foundations of the actual city have
roots in the 10th century. At this point, the
Countess Mumadona Dias,
erected a monastery in her property of Vimaranes, which originated the
fixation of people in the area known as "vila baixa" (downtown). At
the same time, she ordered the construction of a castle on the hill
area which became known as "vila alta" (uptown), to defend the
settlement. To connect these to other areas, the Rua de Santa Maria
The monastery became the "Real Colegiada" (Royal Collegiate church)
and throughout time acquired importance due to the privileges and
donations given to it by nobles and kings and it became a famous
Henry, Count of
Portugal approved the first national foral possibly in
1096 (but not confirmed). The foral proves the growing importance of
the village of
Guimarães at that time, which was chosen as the
capital of the County of Portugal.
On 24 June 1128, the "Batalha de São Mamede" (Battle of São Mamede)
took place in Guimarães.
During the reign of king Denis, as the village was expanding, it was
partially surrounded by a defensive wall. Meanwhile, mendicant orders
Guimarães and helped to mold the shape of the emerging
city. Later, during the reign of John I, the wall was torn down and
the two parts of the city (uptown and downtown) were finally united
and the city began to expand outside its old walls.
Modern and contemporary
Until the 19th century the structure of the city did not suffer many
transformations besides the construction of a few more churches,
convents and palaces. It was by the ending of the 19th century that
new urbanistic ideas of hygiene and symmetry that the village, that
was promoted to city by the Queen
Maria II on 23 June 1853 had its
The complete demolition of the city walls was authorized and the
creation of many streets and avenues could start at that point. The
controlled process of urbanization permitted the conservation of the
city's magnificent historical center.
Couros river, near
Guimarães Youth Hostel
Granite rock formations occupy the majority of the municipality but
schist rocks can also be found in certain zones in the northwest of
the municipality. On the southeast, clay can be found in stream bed of
Vizela and Selho rivers.
Orography and hydrography
The municipality is delimited at north by the "Senhora do Monte"
(Senhora hill), at northwest by the hills of Falperra, Sameiro,
Outeiro and Penedice. To the south by the Penha hill which with height
of 613 meters, it is the highest point of the municipality.
Guimarães is part of the drainage basin of
Ave river which divides
the municipality in half. The
Ave river has as tributaries the Vizela
river, Torto river, Febras river and inside the city, the Selho river,
the Couros river and the Santa Lúzia stream.
Guimarães is located in a valley and surrounded by hills, and because
there is some distance to the sea, the winter is normally cold and
rainy and the summer is hot and lightly humid. The average annual
temperature is 14 °C.
There is not much diversity, specially in the urban areas, but the
municipality has some species of cynegetic interest such as: the red
fox, the wild boar, the turtle dove, the thrush, the pigeon and the
red-legged partridge. In the green areas of the city, the most common
species are rodents, especially squirrels.
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 48 civil parishes
Abação e Gémeos
Airão Santa Maria, Airão São João e Vermil
Arosa e Castelões
Atães e Rendufe
Briteiros Salvador e Briteiros Santa Leocádia
Briteiros Santo Estêvão e Donim
Caldas das Taipas
Caldas das Taipas (Caldelas)
Candoso (São Martinho)
Candoso São Tiago e Mascotelos
Conde e Gandarela
Leitões, Oleiros e Figueiredo
Moreira de Cónegos
Oliveira, São Paio e São Sebastião
Prazins (Santa Eufémia)
Santo Tirso e Corvite
Sande São Lourenço e Balazar
Sande (São Martinho)
Sande Vila Nova e Sande São Clemente
Selho (São Cristóvão)
Selho (São Jorge)
Selho São Lourenço e Gominhães
Serzedo e Calvos
Souto Santa Maria, Souto São Salvador e Gondomar
Tabuadelo e São Faustino
In 2001, the population of the municipality was 159 576. In 2010, it
is estimated that the population will reach 188 178 inhabitants. The
population is constituted by 78 436 males and 81 140 females.
Guimarães is the 13th biggest city in the country in terms of
Evolution of the population of the municipality of Guimarães
Evolution of the population in the city center (1864–2011)
Nossa Senhora da Consolação e dos Santos Passos Church, Guimarães,
Guimarães is an average size city but with a booming cultural life.
Besides its museums, monuments, cultural associations, art galeries
and popular festivities, it has since September 2005, an important
cultural space, the Vila Flor Cultural Center. This cultural center
has two auditoria, exhibition center and a concert-cafe. Guimarães
European Capital of Culture
European Capital of Culture in 2012, together with Maribor.
Guimarães was elected by the
New York Times
New York Times one of the 41 places to
go in 2011 and NYT called it one of the Iberian peninsula's emerging
Joanina fair in Guimarães, where old activities are recreated such as
the production of meat "cake"
The fact that since its beginning,
Guimarães had a feminine monastery
made much influence over its regional gastronomy, specially its
confectionery. "Tortas de Guimarães" (Guimarães' pies) and "Toucinho
do céu" (normally translated as bacon from heaven) are a good
example. Besides the customary Minho gastronomy, the so-called "meat"
cake is made here, which is a kind of bread in a pizza shape served
with pig, sardines or other toppings.
Traditions and festivities
"Festas Gualterianas" (Gualteriana festival), in honor of Saint
Gualter, take place since 1906 in the first weekend of August. The
"Cortejo do Linho" (Linen parade) and the "Batalha das Flores" (Battle
of the Flowers) are part of the festivities which are ended by the
"Marcha Gualteriana" (Gualteriana march).
"Nicolinas" are the festivities of the students of Guimarães,
celebrated in honor of Saint Nicholas. The festivities start on 29
November and finish 7 December. They are composed of different
celebrations; the "Pinheiro" is most widely attended. After a
restaurant dinner, the participants parade the streets of Guimarães
playing the "Toques Nicolinos" tune on drums. Latelly, it has been
suggested that the "Nicolinas" should be a contender to be UNESCO
intangible cultural heritage.
The Santa Luzia festivities in honor of honor
Saint Lucy take place
annually on 13 December, near to the chapel of Santa Luzia. The
selling of traditional cakes made of rye and sugar, which are called
"Sardão" and "Passarinha" (these names have sexual connotations in
Portuguese). According to the tradition, a boy should offer a
"Sardão", which has a phallic form, to the girl and if the girl was
interested in dating the boy, she should reply with a "Passarinha".
Romaria of São Torcato" is one of the biggest romarias in
Minho, takes place annually in July in the village of São Torcato.
Museums, cultural spaces and art galleries
Centro Cultural Vila Flor
The city of
Guimarães has several cultural spaces of reference at a
regional and national level. Among the several museums of the city,
the Alberto Sampaio museum is the one that stands out. Founded in
1928, it opened its doors to the public in 1931; it is located in the
old site of the Canon the Collegiate of Our Lady of Oliveira (Cabido
da Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira in Portuguese). It contains
a rich collection of pieces from the 14th, 15th and 16th century,
including one rare vest that was used by the king John I.
Headquarters of the Martins Sarmento Society
The Martins Sarmento Society (Sociedade Martins Sarmento in
Portuguese) is one of the country oldest institutions dedicated to the
study and preservation of archaeological artifacts. The society owns
two museums: the Archaeological Museum of the Martins Sarmento
Society, which is known by its prehistory and protohistory collections
and also its numismatics and epigraphy collections; and the Castro
Culture Museum which is dedicated to the Castro culture.
There is also: the Primitive Modern Arts Museum, located in the Domus
Municipalis (the old city hall), which contains a collection of naïve
art; the Museum of the Village of São Torcato, which is dedicated to
the region and its relationship with the monastery and Saint Torcato
(São Torcato in Portuguese); the Agriculture Museum of Fermentões,
which exhibits collections of the traditional agricultural practices
of the region; and the Museum of São Sebastião, inaugurated on 24
March 1984, which contains mainly sacred art.
Other cultural venues include:
Vila Flor Cultural Center (Centro Cultural Vila Flor in Portuguese) is
the main cultural venue in Guimarães. It was built in 2005, in a
recovery of the old Vila Flor Palace and its surrounding area. It has
two auditoriums, a concert-cafe and an exhibition gallery. The
surrounding gardens of the old palace were also redone and in 2006,
received an honorable mention in the Public Exterior Spaces category
in the National Landscape Architecture Award.
São Mamede -
Guimarães Arts and Shows Center.
Raul Brandão Municipal Library has its headquarters in the city and
also has branches in Pevidém,
Caldas das Taipas
Caldas das Taipas and Ronfe. It offers
its mobile library services to 42 parishes and services the city
schools and prison.
The Art Laboratory (Laboratorio das Artes in Portuguese) was founded
in 2004 by ESAP students. It is a cultural space for exhibitions,
performances, music and art workshops.
Alfredo Pimenta National Archive, founded in 1931, contains the
archives for municipality of
Guimarães and also the
Guimarães has a major sports club, Vitória Sport Clube, whose
football (soccer) team has been the city's representative in the
Primeira Liga for many years. Vitória SC also has basketball and
volleyball squads competing in the top divisions of their sports.
The church in the Toural square, lit to celebrate
In 2008, the city ranked second in the index of most livable city in
Portugal. It is also the second least polluted city in the country.
In 2004, 89% of the population had running water; it was forecast that
the number would raise to 95% by 2006. In 2001, 63.5% of the
population had basic sanitation; it was forecast that the number would
raise to 80% by 2008. In 2001, 100% of the population had access to
waste management services.
However, several people complain that the city, together with other
cities of the
Braga district has had an unaesthetic and unorganized
Guimarães ranks fourth in the country for available newspapers. The
oldest was the "Azemel Vimaranense", founded in 1822; it possibly had
its publication halted by the Vilafrancada incidents. From 1856, other
newspapers start to appear, amongst them "A Tesoura de Guimarães".
Actually the city's newspapers are:
O Comércio de Guimarães
Desportivo de Guimarães
O Expresso do Ave
Jornal do Adepto
Notícias de Guimarães
O Povo de Guimarães
Reflexo – O Espelho das Taipas]]
Sport Jornal dos Desportos
There are two stations headquartered in the town: Radio Fundação
(95.8 FM) and Radio Santiago (98.0 FM).
Guimarães TV transmission is made online since 24 July 2007; it
is the result of a collaboration between the city's assembly and the
Guimarães Cybercenter. Its contents are feature in the Região Norte
TV channel which is available through cable.
The "canalguimarães" is another online channel that started operating
in March 2010. It is the fruit of the effort put in by an arts
association, the "Associação de Socorros Mútuos Artística
Vimaranense", one of the oldest associations of the city.
Guimarães is one of the most industrial municipalities in Portugal.
Its primary industries are textiles, shoe industry and
Guimarães is linked to
Porto by the
Guimarães line. This railway
line was originally built with narrow gauge track, then modernised and
rebuilt to the broad
Iberian gauge in the first decade of the 21st
century. The train service is operated by Comboios de
Guimarães is served by TUG (Transportes Urbanos de
Guimarães) which operates 21 bus routes serving the city.
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See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Portugal
Guimarães is twinned with:
Mé-Zóchi, São Tomé and Príncipe;
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay;
Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Cape Verde.
Medieval and Early Modern
Afonso I of
Portugal (1111–1185) nicknamed "the Conqueror" by the
Moors, whom he fought, was the first King of Portugal
Paio Galvão (ca.1165—1230) a Leonese Cardinal and canon lawyer and
a papal legate and leader of the Fifth Crusade
Portugal (1259–1321) an infanta, the firstborn child of
King Afonso III of Portugal
Gil Vicente (c.1465–c.1536) known as the Trobadour, a Portuguese
playwright and poet, acted and directed his own plays
Agostinho Barbosa (1589–1649) a prolific Portuguese writer on canon
Bishop of Ugento
Bishop of Ugento in Italy in 1649
Alfredo Pimenta (1882–1950) was a Portuguese historian, poet and
writer, especially of the Middle Ages
Abel Salazar (1889-1946) a Portuguese physician, lecturer, researcher,
writer and painter
Duarte Freitas do Amaral (1909-1979) a Portuguese politician, was a
Deputy to the National Assembly of Portugal
Elisabete Matos (born 1964) a Portuguese soprano
Luís Marques Mendes
Luís Marques Mendes (born 1957) a Portuguese lawyer and politician
and former Leader of the Social Democratic Party
Pedro Chagas Freitas
Pedro Chagas Freitas (born 1979) a writer, journalist, writing teacher
and public speaker on leadership, self-confidence, peak performance
and life management
Marisa Ferreira (born 1983) a Portuguese artist whose work includes
both public art and geometric art
Sofia Escobar (born 1984) a soprano singer and actress, particularly
in West End musicals, in London
Renato Freitas (born 1996) stage name
Lizzy's Husband a Portuguese
electronic music artist especially industrial electronica
Francisco "Xico" Ferreira (1919–1986) a Portuguese footballer who
made 278 pro appearances
Domingos Castro (born 1963) a former long-distance runner, competed in
the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics
Dionísio Castro (born 1963) a former long-distance runner, he
competed at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics
Miguel Alberto Marques (born 1963) known as Miguel, is a Portuguese
retired footballer, made 545 pro appearances
Joaquim Alberto Ferreira Machado (born 1971) known as Quim Berto, is a
former professional footballer, 451 pro appearances
Domingos Alexandre Martins Costa (born 1979) known as Alex, is a
former Portuguese footballer, 295 pro appearances
Rui Jorge Faria Azevedo (born 1980) known as Faria, is a Portuguese
goalkeeping footballer, over 250 pro appearances
Ana Dulce Félix
Ana Dulce Félix (born 1982) a long distance runner, competed in the
2016 Summer Olympics
2016 Summer Olympics marathon
Custódio Castro (born 1983) known as Custódio, is a Portuguese
retired footballer, made 342 pro appearances
Paulo Monteiro (born 1985) a Portuguese footballer, has made 250 pro
Vieirinha (born 1986) a Portuguese footballer who plays in Greece
João Sousa (born 1989) a Portuguese professional tennis player,
ranked 36th by the ATP, Portugal's greatest tennis player
Tiago André Coelho Lopes (born 1989) known as
Rabiola was a
Portuguese professional footballer
Rui Bragança (born 1991) a Portuguese taekwondo practitioner,
competes in the men's −58 kg (flyweight) category.
Carlos Miguel Ribeiro Dias (born 1993) known as Cafú is a Portuguese
footballer who plays in France
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guimarães.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Guimarães.
Municipality official website
Tourism in Guimarães
Photos from Guimarães
Guimarães 2012 - Cultural Programme on e-book format
European Capital of Culture
European Capital of Culture - Portugal, Portuguese
^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
^ Direção-Geral do Território Archived 29 September 2014 at
^ História de
Portugal - Battle of Sao Mamede Archived 9 March 2016
at the Wayback Machine.
^ Condado Portucalense - História de
Portugal (in Portuguese)
Portugal Romano - Ara de Trajano (in Portuguese)
^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 56-58" (pdf)
(in Portuguese). Retrieved 23 July 2014.
^ Wilder, Charly  "The New York Times", 9 January 2011
^ "Lisboa - Geminações de Cidades e Vilas" [
Lisbon - Twinning of
Cities and Towns]. Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses
[National Association of Portuguese Municipalities] (in Portuguese).
^ "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de
Lisbon - Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship].
Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Retrieved
Cabeceiras de Basto
Celorico de Basto
Póvoa de Lanhoso
Terras de Bouro
Vieira do Minho
Vila Nova de Famalicão
European Capitals of Culture
Santiago de Compostela
Luxembourg City and Greater Region
World Heritage Sites in Portugal
Alto Douro Wine Region
Historic Centre of Guimarães
Historic Centre of Porto
Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde1
Convent of Christ in Tomar
Coimbra – Alta and Sofia
Cultural Landscape of Sintra
Monastery of the Hieronymites and Belém Tower
Historic Centre of Évora
Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications
Historic Centre of Angra do Heroísmo
Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture
1 Shared with other region/s and Spain