Last updated

Guimaraes Portugal Paco-dos-Duques-de-Braganca-02 (cropped).jpg
Campo da Feira DSC04882 (36934450256) (cropped).jpg
80823-Guimaraes (49063640816) (cropped).jpg
Guimaraes - Portugal (30393520251).jpg
Guima@36MP (15120193924).jpg
Praca Oliveira (300ml) (cropped).jpg
Coordinates: 41°27′N8°18′W / 41.450°N 8.300°W / 41.450; -8.300 Coordinates: 41°27′N8°18′W / 41.450°N 8.300°W / 41.450; -8.300
CountryFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
Region Norte
Intermunic. comm. Ave
District Braga
Parishes 48
   President Domingos Bragança (PS)
  Total241.3 km2 (93.2 sq mi)
  Density630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±00:00 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Historic Centre of Guimarães
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Guimaraes Portugal Paco-dos-Duques-de-Braganca-02.jpg
Criteria Cultural: (ii), (iii), (iv)
Reference 1031
Inscription2001 (25th Session)
Area19.45 ha (48.1 acres)
Buffer zone99.23 ha (245.2 acres)
The Toural square in 1864 Toural em 1864.jpg
The Toural square in 1864
The Toural square in 2009 The Toural square in 2009.jpg
The Toural square in 2009

Guimarães (Portuguese pronunciation:  [ɡimɐˈɾɐ̃jʃ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a city and municipality located in northern Portugal, in the district of Braga. Its historic town centre has been listed as a 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 152.309 inhabitants according the most recent data of 2019 in an area of 240.95 square kilometres (93.03 sq mi). [1] The current Mayor is Domingos Bragança, of the Socialist Party. Guimarães, along with Maribor, Slovenia, was the European Capital of Culture in 2012.

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 County of 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 Portugal" 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 – which is considered the seminal event for the foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal – was fought in the vicinity of the city. [2]


The Oliveira square, in the historical center of Guimaraes, with the Padrao do Salado on the left Praca da Oliveira 01.jpg
The Oliveira square, in the historical center of Guimarães, with the Padrão do Salado on the left
Largo do Toural, Guimaraes, Portugal Guimaraes Portugal Largo-do-Toural-01.jpg
Largo do Toural, Guimarães, Portugal

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).

Ancient history

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 period.

There is also evidence of Roman occupation, and a stone dedicated to the Roman emperor Trajan found in Caldas das Taipas suggests that this was already a spa town in Roman times. [3]


Statue of Mumadona Dias, in front of the city court Guimaraes Mumadona Dias.jpg
Statue of Mumadona Dias, in front of the city court

Following the Reconquista policy promoted by the 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 was built.

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 pilgrimage site.

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.

Middle Ages

During the reign of king Denis, as the town was expanding, it was partially surrounded by a defensive wall. Meanwhile, mendicant orders settled in 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.

The construction of St. Peter's Basilica began in 1737, and became a minor basilica in 1751, with formal completion of the work between 1883 and 1884.

Modern history

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 greatest changes.

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 Guimaraes Youth Hostel Rio de Couros.jpg
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 the Ave, 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 it is some distance from 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, especially 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 ( freguesias ): [4]


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 population.

Evolution of the population of the municipality of Guimarães (1801–2011)
Evolution of the population in the city center (1864–2011)


Nossa Senhora da Consolacao e dos Santos Passos Church, Guimaraes, Portugal Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacao e Santos Passos, Guimaraes, Portugal.jpg
Nossa Senhora da Consolação e dos Santos Passos Church, Guimarães, Portugal

Guimarães is an average size city but with a booming cultural life. Besides its museums, monuments, cultural associations, art galleries 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 was the European Capital of Culture in 2012, together with Maribor in Slovenia.

Guimarães is also home to association football club Vitória S.C. who compete in the Primeira Liga, the top-flight of football in Portugal.

Guimarães was elected by The New York Times one of the 41 places to go in 2011 and called it one of the Iberian peninsula's emerging cultural spots. [5]


Joanina fair in Guimaraes, where old activities are recreated such as the production of meat "cake" Feira Joanina Guimaraes.jpg
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 cuisine, 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 cuisine, the so-called "meat" cake is made here, which is a kind of bread in a pizza shape served with pork, sardines or other toppings.

Traditions and festivities

Museums, cultural spaces and art galleries

Centro Cultural Vila Flor Copia de Centro Cultural Vila Flor 085.jpg
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 Sociedade Martins Sarmento.JPG
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:


Estadio D. Afonso Henriques Italia-Bulgaria.jpg
Estádio D. Afonso Henriques

Guimarães has two major sports club, Vitória Sport Clube, whose football (soccer) team has been the city's representative in the Primeira Liga every year, having already conquered a Portuguese Cup in 2012/13 and a Portuguese Supercup in 1988, and Moreirense Futebol Clube, whose football (soccer) team is also in Primeira Liga for some years and already won the Portuguese Second Division in 2013/14 and the Portuguese League Cup in 2016/17. During Vitória SC European campaigns, the Portuguese team played against teams like Arsenal FC, Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad, Eintracht Frankfurt, Parma FC and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Vitória SC also has basketball, volleyball and water polo squads competing in the top divisions of their sports.


The church in the Toural square, lit to celebrate UNESCO heritage status Toural in Guimaraes by night.JPG
The church in the Toural square, lit to celebrate UNESCO heritage status

In 2008, the city ranked second in the index of most livable city in Portugal. It is also the second most 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 growth.


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
  • O Cónego
  • O Conquistador
  • Desportivo de Guimarães
  • Entrevillas
  • O Expresso do Ave
  • Jornal do Adepto
  • Lordelo Jornal
  • Notícias de Guimarães
  • O Pilar
  • 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).


The 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" was 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 metalomechanics.


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 Portugal (CP). Locally, Guimarães is served by TUG (Transportes Urbanos de Guimarães) which operates 21 bus routes serving the city.

International relations

Guimarães is twinned with: [6]

Notable people

King Afonso I of Portugal D. Afonso Henriques - Compendio de cronicas de reyes (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana).png
King Afonso I of Portugal

Medieval and Early Modern

Late Modern

Elisabete Matos, 2021 Elisabete Matos (Cantar em Tempos de Covid, TNSC), cropped.png
Elisabete Matos, 2021


Fernando Meira, 2009 FernandoMeira.jpg
Fernando Meira, 2009
Pedro Mendes, 2018 Pedro Mendes 2018.jpg
Pedro Mendes, 2018

See also

Related Research Articles

Braga Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Braga is a city and a municipality capital of the northwestern Portuguese district of Braga and of the historical and cultural Minho Province. The city has a resident population of 193,333 inhabitants, representing the seventh largest municipality in Portugal. Its area is 183.40 km2. Its agglomerated urban area extends from the Cávado River to the Este River. It is the third-largest urban centre in Portugal.

Oliveira de Azeméis Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Oliveira de Azeméis is a city and a municipality located in Porto Metropolitan Area in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 68,611, in an area of 161.10 km². The city itself has a population of about 20,000. Oliveira de Azeméis is located 35 km to the south of Porto. It is less than 20 km far from the Atlantic Ocean. It has connection the following motorways: A1, A29 and A32; and the IC2 expressway. It is served by Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport/Oporto's airport.

Santo Tirso Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Santo Tirso is a city and municipality located in the north of Porto Metropolitan Area, 25 km from central Porto, Portugal. In the region, the Ave Valley, there is a large center of textile industry. The population in 2011 was 71,530, in an area of 136.60 km².

Vila Nova de Gaia Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia, is a city and a municipality in Porto District in Norte Region, Portugal. It is located south of the city of Porto on the other side of the Douro River. The city proper had a population of 178,255 in 2001. The municipality has an area of 168.46 km². and a total population of 302,295 inhabitants (2011), making it the most populous municipality in Norte Region. Gaia along with Porto and 12 other municipalities make up the commonly designated Porto Metropolitan Area.

Vila do Conde Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vila do Conde is a municipality in the Norte Region of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 79,533, in an area of 149.03 km². The urbanized area of Vila do Conde, which includes the parishes of Vila do Conde, Azurara and Árvore, represent 36,137 inhabitants. Vila do Conde is interlinked to the north with Póvoa de Varzim, forming a single urban agglomeration which is a part of the Porto Metropolitan Area. The town is on the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago.

Vila Nova de Famalicão Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vila Nova de Famalicão is a Portuguese town with a population of approximately 133,048 inhabitants in an area of 201,59 km2, subdivided into 49 parishes. Inserted in the Braga District, in the North Region of Portugal and in the Sub-Region of Vale do Ave, global positioned at 41⁰24’36” N | 8⁰31’13.53” W. The population of Vila Nova was created in 1205 with the charter given by the King Sancho I. The municipality was created in 1835 as a detachment from Barcelos and was elevated to the category of “Vila” with the charter given by the Queen D. Maria II. In 1985, approved by National Assembly, Vila Nova de Famalicão was elevated to the category of "city". The inhabitants of Famalicão are called Famalicenses.

Santa Maria da Feira Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Santa Maria da Feira is a city and a municipality in Aveiro District in Portugal, 23 km from central Porto. The population in 2011 was 139,309, in an area of 215.88 km².

The Braga Football Association is the district governing body for the all football competitions in the Portuguese district of Braga since 1992. It is also the regulator of the clubs registered in the district.

Grândola Municipality in Alentejo, Portugal

Grândola is a town (vila) and municipality in Setúbal District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 14,826, in an area of 825.94 km2.

Penafiel Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Penafiel ([pɨnɐfiˈɛl]or is a municipality and former bishopric in the northern Portuguese district of Porto. Capital of the Tâmega Subregion, the population was 72,265 in 2011, in an area of 212.24 square kilometres.

Alijó Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Alijó is a municipality in the Norte Region of Portugal, located in the district of Vila Real. The population in 2011 was 11,942, in an area of 297.60 km2.

Fafe Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Fafe is a municipality in the northern Portuguese district of Braga. The population in 2021 was 48,502, in an area of approximately (219.08 square kilometres. The city itself had a population of 14,144 in 2001. The present mayor is Antero Barbosa, elected by the Socialist Party. The municipal holiday is May 16.

Vila Verde Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vila Verde is a municipality in the district of Braga in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 47,888, in an area of 228.67 km².

Vizela Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vizela is a municipality in the Braga District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 23,736, in an area of 24.70 km².

Citânia de Briteiros Archaeological site in Guimarães, Portugal

The Citânia de Briteiros is an archaeological site of the Castro culture located in the Portuguese civil parish of Briteiros São Salvador e Briteiros Santa Leocádia in the municipality of Guimarães; important for its size, "urban" form and developed architecture, it is one of the more excavated sites in northwestern Iberian Peninsula. Although primarily known as the remains of an Iron Age proto-urban hill fort, the excavations at the site have revealed evidence of sequential settlement, extending from the Bronze to Middle Ages.

Vila Real Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Vila Real is the capital and largest city of the Vila Real District, in the North region. It is also the seat of the Douro intermunicipal community and of the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro historical province. The Vila Real municipality covers an area of 378.80 square kilometres (146.26 sq mi) and is home to an estimated population of 49,574 (2021), of which about 29,000 live in the urban area (2021).

Matosinhos Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Matosinhos is a city and a municipality in the northern Porto district of Portugal, bordered in the south by the city of Porto. The population in 2011 was 175,478, and covered an area of approximately 62.42 square kilometres (24.10 sq mi). The urban centre, the city proper, had a population of 45,703 in 2001.


  1. "Áreas das freguesias, concelhos, distritos e país". Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. História de Portugal - Battle of Sao Mamede Archived 9 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ""Ara de Trajano" (Caldas das Taipas)". 19 January 2011. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  4. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 56–58" (PDF). Diário da República (in Portuguese). Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  5. Wilder, Charly (9 January 2011). "The 41 Places to Go in 2011": "26. Guimarães, Portugal". The New York Times.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 "Geminações de Cidades e Vilas". Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  7. "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de Lisboa" [Lisbon – Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship]. Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  8. Elisabete Matos, IMDb Database.
  9. Sofia Escobar, IMDb Database.