Nazaré, Portugal

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Nazaré
Municipality
Nazaré, Praia and Pederneira, seen from Sítio
Nazaré, Praia and Pederneira, seen from Sítio
Flag of Nazaré
Flag
Coat of arms of Nazaré
Coat of arms
LocalNazare.svg
Coordinates: 39°36′N 9°04′W / 39.600°N 9.067°W / 39.600; -9.067Coordinates: 39°36′N 9°04′W / 39.600°N 9.067°W / 39.600; -9.067
Country  Portugal
Region Centro
Subregion Oeste
Intermunic. comm. Oeste
District Leiria
Parishes 3
Government
 • President Jorge Barroso (PSD)
Area
 • Total 82.43 km2 (31.83 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 15,158
 • Density 180/km2 (480/sq mi)
Time zone WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)
Website http://www.cm-nazare.pt

Nazaré (Portuguese pronunciation: [nɐzɐˈɾɛ]) is a town and a municipality in subregion Oeste and Leiria District, in Portugal. It is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the Silver Coast/Costa de Prata, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 15,158,[1] in an area of 82.43 km².[2] The present Mayor is Jorge Antunes Barroso, elected by the Social Democratic Party. The municipal holiday is September 8 with the Festas da Nazaré a religious and profane festival with processions, bullfights, fireworks, folk dancing and a fair.

The town consists of three neighbourhoods: Praia (along the beach), Sítio (an old village, on top of a cliff) and Pederneira (another old village, on a hilltop). Praia and Sítio are linked by the Nazaré Funicular, a funicular railway.

History and legend[edit]

The earliest settlements were in Pederneira and in Sítio, above the beach. They provided the inhabitants with refuge against raids by Algerian, French, English and Dutch pirates, that lasted until as late as the beginning of the 19th century.[3]

According to the Legend of Nazaré, the town derives its name from a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, a Black Madonna, brought by a monk in the 4th century from Nazareth, Holy Land, to a monastery near the city of Mérida, Spain. The statue was brought to its current place in 711 by another monk, Romano, accompanied by Roderic, the last Visigoth king. After their arrival at the seaside they decided to become hermits. The monk lived and died in a small natural grotto, on top of a cliff above the sea. After his death and according to the monk's wishes, the king buried him in the grotto. Roderic left the statue of the Black Madonna in the grotto on an altar.

Legend of Nazaré

The first church in Sítio was built over the grotto to commemorate a miraculous intervention in 1182 by the Virgin Mary, which saved the life of the 12th-century Portuguese knight Dom Fuas Roupinho (possibly a templar) while he was hunting deer one morning in a dense fog. This episode is usually referred to as the Legend of Nazaré. In memory of the miracle he had a chapel (Capela da Memória) built over the small grotto, where the miraculous statue had been left by king Roderic after the monk's death. Beside the chapel, on a rocky outcrop 110 meters above the Atlantic, one can still see the mark made in the rock by one of the hooves of Dom Fuas' horse.[citation needed] This Church of Nazareth, high on the rocky outcrop over Pederneira bay, was noted as a landmark in sailors' manuals.[4][5]

In 1377, King Fernando I of Portugal founded a new more spacious church which was totally transformed between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré is a rich baroque building, with splendid tiles on its interior. Behind and above the main altar visitors can see and venerate the miraculous statue of our Lady of Nazaré.

Parishes[edit]

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 3 civil parishes (freguesias):[6]

Tourism[edit]

Nazaré

Nazaré has become a popular tourist attraction, advertising itself, internationally, as a picturesque seaside village. Located on the Atlantic coast, it has long sandy beaches (considered by some to be among the best beaches in Portugal), with lots of tourists in the summer. The town used to be known for its traditional costumes worn by the fishermen and their wives who wore a traditional headscarf and embroidered aprons over seven flannel skirts in different colours. These dresses can still occasionally be seen.

Surfing[edit]

In November 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a record-breaking giant wave: 78 feet (23.8 m) from trough to crest, at Nazaré.[7] On 28 January 2013, McNamara returned to the spot and successfully surfed a wave that appeared even larger, but is awaiting an official measurement.[8] Then, on October 28, 2013, Carlos Burle surfed another wave that is currently being scrutinized as possibly the largest wave ever ridden. On that same day, female big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira experienced a near-death wipeout, but was rescued after losing consciousness. Such very high breaking waves form due to the presence of the underwater Nazaré Canyon.[9] In August 2012, a freak wave killed a 5 year old British girl and her grandfather walking along Salgado Beach.[10]

View from the beach to the promontory, lighthouse (left) and Sítio (top right)

International relations[edit]

Nazaré is twinned with:

References[edit]

External links[edit]