GuimarãesTown Related Links
GuimarãesHistory

Records show that King Alfonso de León in 840 convened a Council of Bishops and Counts in this town.

Some 28 years later a nobleman named Vimara Peres established the town as a centre to be ruled as a Burgh in Germanic tradition.

In the 10th Century this town was said to be ruled by a woman named Mumadona. She constructed a wooden castle from which she successfully defended her surrounding large estate.

In the 11th Century a Monastery was founded and a castle was built. Between 1095-96 Count Henry of Burgundy the father of the first King of Portugal maintained his court in this town.

It follows that when Dom Afonso Henriques was first proclaimed King of Portugal in 1139 he chose this attractive town as his capital.

The elegant castle that has since always featured on the Portuguese coat of arms is reputed to have been his actual birthplace and within the small Romanesque church within its grounds is the font in which he was supposedly baptized.

Dom Afonso, the much-travelled 15th and the first of the Dukes of Bragança, was later to construct his palatial home within the city.

Some six kilometres to the north of the town is a place named Campo da Ataca and it was here that the important Battle de São Mamede was fought.

This particular Battle was the decisive event that led to Afonso Henriques securing the right to establish the Kingdom of Portugal.

GuimarãesDescription

The city has tried to retain its proud heritage by maintaining as many of its established buildings from the past. The Rua de Santa Maria in the old quarter of the city is still a tight narrow street with cobbles and lined with facades adorned with statues.

The palace built in the Paço dos Duques by Dom Afonso was discarded by his successors when they moved the family seat to Vila Viçosa in the Alentejo. During the 20th Century rule of Salazar this palace was restored to some of its original glory and used as an official residence of the President. There is a small museum attached to the palace that can be visited.

In the former monastery of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira there are excellent examples of religious artwork through the centuries. Other interesting exhibits are the battle tunic worn by Dom João I at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, and a 14th Century silver altarpiece said to be taken from the defeated Spanish King.

This Monastery takes its name after the legend created in 672 when the Visigoth King Wamba, as chosen as King he drove his staff into the ground stating he would not take office until it sprouted. It promptly did and he then failed to withdraw it back out of the soil.

In front of the Convent is the Padrão do Salado that commemorates a local legend. It is said that an olive tree was planted to provide altar oil. It began to wither so a local tradesman hung a cross on it and it henceforth flourished. Unfortunately, the tree that is seen today only dates from 1985!

The Museu Martins Sarmento is the home of many interesting objects found from local sites dating as far back as the Iron Age. The originally 14th Century church of São Francisco was reconstructed in the 18th Century and contains a chancel with impressive scenes from the life of “St Anthony”.

GuimarãesNearby Locations

To the north of Guimarães is the somewhat sumptuous 18th Century Santuário de Porto d'Ave modelled upon the Bom Jesus de Braga. In complete contrast some kilometres further up the same road is the simple but historic 11th Century Igreja de Fonte Arcada.

In the direction of Felgueiras which is to the south east of Guimarães is the Benedictine Monastery of Pombeiro de Ribavizela founded in 1059.

To the east of Guimarães is the town of Cabeceiras de Bastos that lies in mountains and its woods acted as a natural hiding place from the Moorish invaders.

Old carved stone statues representing Celtic warriors have been found in the area and these have been given the name “Bastos” after the town.

The area is overshadowed by the mountain Monte Farinha that is crowned with the church of Nossa Senhora da Graça. In the same area but further to the south is the village of Celorico de Basto that has a small castle and several charming old houses.

To the northwest of Guimarães is the Spa town of Caldas das Taipas which dates back to the time of Roman occupation. There is another Spa town named Vizela which lies almost directly to the south of Guimarães.

GuimarãesEvents and Useful Town Facts


Festa de São José 19th March
Festas de Santo António 13th June
Town Holiday 24th June
Festas Gualterianas August
Festas da Peregrinação à Penha 13th September
Festas Nicolinas ou Estudantes 29th Nov to 4th Dec
Romaria de Nª Sra. da Conceição 8th December
Romaria de Santa Luzia 13th December



Postal Code 8000
Altitude 175 mts.
Inhabitants 54.000


GuimarãesTelephone Numbers


Town Hall 253 421 200
Fire Brigade 253 515 444
Police 253 513 334
Hospital 253 512 612
Tourist Office 253 421 450
SOS 112
Support to Tourists 800 296 296

Accommodation
 Pousadas
Pousadas
 Pousada Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
 Pousada de Santa Marinha da Costa
Area Map
Weather
 Algarve Weather Forecast
 Lisbon Weather Forecast
 Porto Weather Forecast
Costa Verde
 Braga
 Espinho
 Guimarães
 Porto
 Viana do Castelo
Travel Index
 Algarve
 Alentejo
 Lisbon Coast
 Costa Prata
 Costa Verde
 Transmontana
 Azores
 Madeira
Home
 Home