Ribeira Grande (Azores)
Vista of the interior of Ribeira Grande looking southeast towards the Serra de Água de Pau mountain range
|Official name: Concelho da Ribeira Grande|
|Name origin: ribeira grande, Portuguese for great/grand river|
|Civil Parishes||Calhetas, Conceição, Fenais da Ajuda, Lomba da Maia, Lomba de São Pedro, Maia, Matriz, Pico da Pedra, Porto Formoso, Rabo de Peixe, Ribeira Seca, Ribeirinha, Santa Bárbara, São Brás|
|- elevation||36 m (118 ft)|
|Highest point||Pico da Barrosa|
|- location||Barrosa, Ribeira Seca, Ribeira Grande|
|- elevation||1,018.73 m (3,342 ft)|
|Lowest point||Sea level|
|- location||Atlantic Ocean|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||32.6 km (20 mi), West-East|
|Width||9.7 km (6 mi), North-South|
|Area||180.09 km2 (70 sq mi)|
|- land||169.93 km2 (66 sq mi)|
|- water||1.66 km2 (1 sq mi)|
|- urban||8.5 km2 (3 sq mi)|
|Density||171.31 / km2 (444 / sq mi)|
|- location||Largo Conselheiro Artur Hintze Ribeiro, Matriz, Ribeira Grande|
|- elevation||21 m (69 ft)|
|President||Ricardo José Moniz da Silva (PS)|
|Municipal Chair||Eduardo da Silva Vieira (PS)|
|- summer (DST)||Azores (UTC0)|
|ISO 3166-2 code||PT-|
|Postal Zone||9600-509 Ribeira Grande|
|Area Code & Prefix||(+351) 292 XXX-XXXX|
|Patron Saint||Nossa Senhora da Estrela|
|Municipal Address||Largo Conselheiro Artur Hintze Ribeiro
9600-509 Ribeira Grande
|Municipal Holidays||29 June|
Location of the municipality of Ribeira Grande in the archipelago of the Azores
|Wikimedia Commons: Ribeira Grande (Azores)|
|Statistics from INE (2008); geographic detail from Instituto Geográfico Português (2010)|
Ribeira Grande (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁiˈβɐjɾɐ ˈɣɾɐ̃d(ɨ)]) is a municipality in the northern part of the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese Azores, considered the largest and most populous of the archipelago's municipalities, with a population of 30852 inhabitants (2008). The parish of Matriz, is the municipal seat with a population of about 5300 inhabitants, located in the urbanized core of what is commonly referred to as the city of Ribeira Grande.
The settlement received a town charter from King Manuel in 1507.
The municipality is one of six municipalities that make-up the island of São Miguel, an area that extends from the northern communities along the Atlantic coast to the volcanic mountains along the center of the island. It is situated between the municipalities of Nordeste (on the east), Povoação (in the southeast), Ponta Delgada (in the west), Lagoa and Vila Franca do Campo (in the south). All these communities are linked by several regional roads that circle the island, as well as intersecting the mountains in the central zone.
Ribeira Grande's relief is dominated by the Serra de Água de Pau volcanic massif, and lying within its caldera the crater lake Lagoa do Fogo (the highest altitude here is Pico da Barrosa at 947m or Monte Escuro, at 890m), but also extends to the Graminhais Plateau in the eastern border with Nordeste (Pico do Salto do Cavalo, 954m). These elevations, and the existence of many springs in the foothills, have been responsible for the fast-flowing ravines, one of which gave rise to the municipalities name. Other volcanic aspects manifest themselves in the fumaroles, such as Caldeira Velha or Caldeiras, and also the warm mineral springs in Lombadas, Gramas and Ladeira da Velha.
In addition to many river-valleys that carve the landscape in this region, the municipality is also dotted by several beaches, including the main beach in Ribeira Grande (Santa Bárbara and Monte Verde beaches), Moinhos Beach (Porto Formoso) and Viola Beach, secluded in the shadow of Lomba da Maia.
The municipality is divided into 14 sub-regional administrative units, or freguesias, equivalent to civil parishes:
- Conceição (Ribeira Grande)
- Fenais da Ajuda
- Lomba da Maia
- Lomba de São Pedro
- Matriz (Ribeira Grande)
- Pico da Pedra
- Porto Formoso
- Rabo de Peixe
- Ribeira Seca
- Santa Bárbara
- São Brás
The largest parish in population and density is Rabo de Peixe smallest parish in population is São Brás. The leastly populated parish in density and population is Lomba de São Pedro. The largest parish is Maia and the smallest is Calhetas. The highest parish is Lomba da Maia.
Twin towns — Sister cities 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
Ribeira Grande, São Miguel is twinned with:
- Although the Portuguese government and statistical entities recognize the existence of a city, which encompasses a certain level of population, services and physical dimensions, the city as legal governmental entity (with mayor, governmental bodies and services) does not exist. All governmental services are administered at the municipal and/parish levels.