Oeiras Municipality, Portugal

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Coordinates: 38°41′0″N 9°19′0″W / 38.68333°N 9.31667°W / 38.68333; -9.31667
Municipality (Concelho)
Passeio marítimo de Oeiras.JPG
A twilight image of the maritime coast of Oeiras
Coat of arms
Official name: Concelho de Oeiras
Country  Portugal
Region Lisbon
Subregion Greater Lisbon
District Lisbon
Municipality Oeiras
Civil Parishes 5
Coordinates 38°41′0″N 9°19′0″W / 38.68333°N 9.31667°W / 38.68333; -9.31667
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Area 45.87 km2 (18 sq mi)
Population 172,120 (2011)
LAU Câmara Municipal
 - location Largo Marquês de Pombal
President Paulo Vistas
Municipal Chair Domingos Ferreira Pereira dos Santos
Timezone WET (UTC0)
 - summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Postal Zone 2784-501
Area Code & Prefix (+351) 214 XX XX XX
Demonym Oeirense
Patron Saint Nossa Senhora da Purificação
Municipal Holidays 7 June
Location of the municipality of Oeiras in continental Portugal
Wikimedia Commons: Oeiras
Website: www.cm-oeiras.pt
Geographic detail from CAOP (2010)[1] produced by Instituto Geográfico Português (IGP)

Oeiras (Portuguese pronunciation: [oˈɐjɾɐʃ]) is a municipality in western part of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, subregion of Greater Lisbon, in continental Portugal. It is part of the urban agglomeration of Lisbon. The population in 2011 was 172,120,[2] in an area of 45.87 km².[3]


The manorhouse of the Marquess of Pombal Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo
The French-inspired gardens of the Royal Palace of Caxias, used by the Royal Family

The mild climate, access to water, quality of its soils and geographically privileged location at the mouth of the Tagus River attracted early settlement to this region. The rugged hilltops of the interior conditioned cultivation and allowed the settlement of several small agricultural castros within the regions limits, such as Castro of Leceia (which was classified in 1963 as a property of public interest). This archaeological site is a witness to the early settlements and defensive structures that developed during the Calcolithic period, although Paleolithic camps, such as Gruta da Ponte da Laje suggest earlier settlements.

Remnants of the Roman occupation of the Iberian peninsula are evident in many places throughout the municipality, including mosaics, specifically along the Rua das Alcássimas, and a Roman bridge. The latter Arab conquest left behind several toponomic markers, such as Arab/Moorish place names: Alcássimas, Algés, Alpendroado and Quinta da Moura.

The settlement of Oeiras dates back to 1208, when the area was colonized by Christian tribes from the northern Portugal, moving south into warmer agricultural lands.

Kingdom era[edit]

At the beginning of the Age of Discoveries, Oeiras became the industrial and commercial warehouse of Lisbon. The development of the Gunpowder factory (Portuguese: Fábrica da Pólvora) in Barcarena, was therefore, important in the expansion of the Portuguese dominions of the Orient, in addition to the aggregate extraction and calcium oxide furnaces in Paço de Arcos. These industries were supported and guarded by the construction of several fortifications along a defensive maritime line that ringed the southern coast to Lisbon and that controlled navigation in the Tagus estuary, from the 16th to 18th centuries. This perimeter included the Fort of São Lourenço da Cabeça Seca (also known as the Lighthouse or Tower of Bugio), rising from a tiny islet in the middle of the Tagus River, and the Fort of São Julião da Barra, both examples of the Renaissance military architecture.

The municipality was founded in 1759 by the Marquis of Pombal, as a reward by King Joseph I to his minister for his efforts in rebuilding the Lisbon historical downtown (Portuguese: Baixa) after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. A royal charter, dated 7 June 1759, gave jurisdiction of the lands within Oeiras to the King's loyal minister, becoming the first Count of Oeiras. A month later the small village was elevated to the status of town, and then municipal status on 13 June 1759. Although Oeiras had a history of settlement, it was during the reign of Joseph I, that economic and social development, conditioned by the influence of the King's Minister, who promoted innovation and supported local economic activities.

In 1770, the first agricultural and industrial fair was established in Oeiras, representing a unique national event, that also contributed to the creation of fishing shelters, a new customhouse and factory, among other projects. One of the principal developments was the construction of the estate of the Marquess of Pombal, that today exists in its original form, with garden, palace and agricultural dependencies, such as the wine cellar, barn and other buildings (today housing the national institutions responsible for bio-science.

In 1894, the municipality was extinguished, but reestablished four years later on 13 January 1898. It was reconstituted without Carcavelos, which was annexed to Cascais, while gaining the civil parish of Benfica. Between 17th and 18th century several estates and palaces began to be constructed, in order to explore agricultural production, principally cereals and vineyards, that supported the growing markets of Lisbon. But, this activity began to decline by the 19th century, and was replaced by new industry, supported by the Lisbon-Cascais railway link, first inaugurated in 1889. Large factories began to locate in the municipality, among them the Fábrica do Papel, the Fundição de Oeiras, a Lusalite and Fermentos Holandeses.

20th century[edit]

At the same time, between the 19th and 20th century, the growth of leisure activities along the coast transformed Oeiras, which became a privileged location for the Portuguese elite. By the beginning of the 20th century, many of the beaches in Oeiras were already occupied by the higher social classes, who travelled to the municipality for medical reasons (believing the air and beach-waters were medicinal). The construction of the National E.N.6 roadway would later link Lisboa to Cascais, permitting new travellers to experience the zone, resulting in an influx of new residents that expanded the urban centres, giving rise to beach "chalets" and summer cottages. Simultaneously, the concentration of economic activities in Lisbon, and surrounding urban municipalities, meant that Oeiras had direct access to the capital.

After 1940-50 the municipality began to function as a suburb and bedroom community, attracting more residential growth along the coast. This culminated in the 1970s, with the appearance of illegal urban settlements, squatters and barrios. Until the 1980s, the municipality was dependent on the much larger urban centre for development.

But, by the end of the 1980s, it began to constitute its own economic pole in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, concentrating its development on teritary activities linked to science, investigation, information technology and communications. At the end of the 20th century the municipality became known for its high standard of living, leaving behind its image as a suburb of Lisbon, and assuming an important position as a centre associated with new technologies (with the establishment of various technology parks, such as TagusPark and LagoasPark) and service industries. The elevated standard of living and work allowed the region to obtain several awards, including the "Melhor Concelho para Trabalhar" (Best Municipality to Work), "Município de excelência" (Municipal Excellency Award), "European Enterprise Award" and the "ECOXXI" Award.


Population of the
municipality of Oeiras
(1849 - 2004)
Year Pop.   ±%  
1801 6,069 —    
1849 5,072 −16.4%
1900 10,447 +106.0%
1930 29,440 +181.8%
1960 94,255 +220.2%
1981 149,328 +58.4%
1991 151,342 +1.3%
2001 162,128 +7.1%
2011 172,120 +6.2%

The municipality is located along the northern margin and mouth of the Tagus River, across from the municipality of Almada, surrounded by the municipalities of Lisbon (to the east), Queluz (to the north) and Cascais (to the west).

The major expansion in the municipalities demographics, much like the other municipalities that circle Lisbon, occurred in the second half of the 20th century. Realizing this growth, and understanding that there was a need to control urban sprawl, in 1948 the Plano de Urbanização da Costa do Sol (Sun Coast Urbanization Plan) was adopted to manage this activities in the northern margin of the Tagus. This remained active until 1994, when the first Plano Director Municipal (Municipal Plan) was adopted.

Demographically, the population is divided into 52.6% women to 47.4% men, with the majority of its resident population between the 25 and 64 year cohort (approximately 92,978 inhabitants). Rounding out these numbers there are 24,153 seniors over the age of 65) and 22,685 residents less than 14 years of age.[4]

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 5 civil parishes (freguesias):[5]


The operational headquarters of Banco Comercial Português banking corporation.
The Arquiparque, one of the several business parks located in Oeiras
The office block within the LagoasPark complex in the civil parish of Porto Salvo

The industrialized and heavily commercial municipality is occupied by several facilities, that include the headquarters of SIC and TVI (two private Portuguese television networks), many large multinational and technology companies, including Nestlé, Cisco, General Electric, HP, Samsung and Nokia. Other enterprises include the headquarters of NetJets Europe, MIPS Technologies (which the Oeiras-based company Chipidea in 2007), Omni Aviation and the Portuguese subsidiary White Airways (that have their head offices in the Edifício Orange in Porto Salvo).[6][7]

The region is also a technology and service incubator with the purposeful creation of many science, technology, research institutions and business parks, including: Taguspark (a science and technology park); the Jamor; and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (a private research institution), in addition to:

  • Arquiparque
  • Lagoas Park
  • Miraflores Premium
  • Neo Park
  • Parque Holanda
  • Parque Suécia
  • Quinta da Fonte
  • Taguspark - Science and Technology Park
  • Tagus Space

Several security and governmental institutions are also within the vicinity: the NATO command post (Joint Command Lisbon); Escola Náutica Infante D. Henrique maritime academy; and a pole of the Instituto Nacional dos Recursos Biológicos, responsible for agrarian research, the Estação Agronómica Nacional (National Agronomy Station), are all located within the municipality.

Main sights[edit]

Oeiras offers a range of points of interest, from the Fábrica da Pólvora (Gunpowder Factory), a recovered arms factory used for leisure and cultural purposes; the Poets Park, a green space with statues of Portuguese poets and writers; and the historical Palace of the Royal Estate in Caxias (that dates from the 18th century and surrounded by gardens).

Leisure and sports facilities include the sports complex of Jamor, the Maritime Walk (a seaside promenade that links Algés to the Torre beach) or the modern marina at Oeiras, prepared to welcome ships, in addition to other local parks and green-spaces. Many of the former town centres have been recovered, displaying monuments and tourist-oriented venues for leisure, cultural, gastronomic and social events (for example the Paço de Arcos).


The Estoril Open, held at the Estoril Court Central, is a professional tennis tournament that hosts both an ATP (men's) and WTA (women's) event. Although named for the nearby resort in Estoril, the event is held in Oeiras by the sports' governing bodies. The men's event was first held in 1990, when the ATP took absolute control of the men's tennis tour and revamped it. In 1998, the first women's event was held, as a component of the ITF women's circuit; a year later, it was promoted to the main WTA Tour. On the men's side, several players who have won the event have also triumphed at the French Open, including Roger Federer, Sergi Bruguera, Thomas Muster, Carlos Moyà, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Gastón Gaudio. The list of champions also includes Àlex Corretja, Andrei Medvedev, Novak Đoković, and David Nalbandian.


  1. ^ IGP, ed. (2010), Carta Administrativa Oficial de Portugal (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto Geográfico Português, retrieved 1 January 2012 
  2. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  3. ^ Eurostat
  4. ^ Oeiras: Factos e Números (in Portuguese), Oeiras, Portugal: Câmara Municipal de Oeiras, July 2003 
  5. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 82" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Contacts: White Airways" (in Portuguese). Porto Salvo (Oeiras), Portugal. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Contacts: Omni Aviation" (in Portuguese). Porto Salvo (Oeiras), Portugal. Retrieved 14 December 2011.