Vila Real, Portugal
|• Mayor||Manuel Martins (PSD)|
|• Land||378.8 km2 (146.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||450 m (1,480 ft)|
|• Density||132/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||WEST (UTC+1)|
The municipality is composed of 30 parishes (freguesias) and has a total area of 378.8 km² and a total population of 50,499 inhabitants in the municipality. The city proper (includes 3 parishes) has a population of 24,481.
Vila Real is ranked number 7 in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by Expresso.
- 1 History
- 2 Coat of Arms
- 3 Main sights
- 4 Education, science and technology
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Civil Parishes
- 7 Geography and climate
- 8 Sports
- 9 Famous citizens
- 10 Electric Power
- 11 Gallery
- 12 External links
- 13 References
The region shows traces of inhabitation during the paleolithic era, while the settlement of Panóias had a Roman presence. Vila Real itself was founded in 1289 by King Denis of Portugal, hence its name meaning Royal Town. It housed more members of the royal family during the Middle Ages than any other settlement in Portugal except the capital in Lisbon, and family Coats of Arms remain above old houses, some of which still occupied by those families. Vineyards were introduced to the municipality in 1764, growing red, white and rosé wines for export. Despite its royal presence, Vila Real only gained city status under the Portuguese Republic in 1925. 
Coat of Arms
The coat of arms of Vila Real - a sword embedded in a wreath of zambujeiro (wild olive tree) and the slogan Aleu - is derived from the decorative motif of the tomb of Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real, found in the Igreja da Graça in Santarém. 'Aleu' or 'aleo' is an old Portuguese term for a 'gaming stick' (as used in hockey or shuffleboard). It refers to a famous episode concerning Pedro de Menezes from shortly after 1415. Pedro de Menezes was engaged in an outdoor game in the king's presence when a messenger arrived reporting an imminent Moroccan attack on Portuguese-held Ceuta. Menezes is said to have raised his gaming stick (aleo) and told the king that "with that stick alone" he could defend Ceuta from all the power of Morocco. 
- Capela da Misericórdia
- Capela de São Brás e o túmulo de Teixeira de Macedo
- Capela do Espírito Santo ou Capela do Bom Jesus do Hospital
- Diogo Cão's house
- Carvalho Araújo's house,
- Brocas' house
- Marqueses's house de Vila Real
- Cathedral of Vila Real
- St. Peter's church
- Bom Jesus do Calvário church
- Clérigos's church or "Capela Nova"
- Pelourinho de Vila Real
- Archaeology and Numismatic Museum
- Geology Museum at the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
- Ethnographic Museum
- Sound and Image Museum, at the Vila Real's Theatre
- Vila Velha Museum
Outside the city centre
- Alvão Natural Park
- Mateus' Palace
- Quintela's tower
- Mamoas de Justes
- Mão do Homem, in Adoufe
- Necrópole de S. Miguel da Pena
- Santuário de Panóias, in Vale de Nogueiras
Education, science and technology
- A24 - Connects Chaves (frontier with Galiza, Spain), to the North, and Viseu, to the South.
- IP4 - Main Road that connects Porto, to the West, and Bragança, Northeast and the frontier with Castilla y Leon, Spain. Its conversion to highway from Amarante to the border is underway.
Vila Real airfield (VRL) - Located 4 km from city centre, near the Industrial Zone, in the Folhadela parish. Has a paved runway with 950×30 m. There's a regular airline service with AeroVIP to Bragança (BGC) and Lisbon (LIS).
The Corgo line was a metre gauge railway that connected the city to Regua, 25 km south, in the Douro valley. It closed for renovation in 2009, but due to spending cuts by the Portuguese Government the closure has become permanent. It followed the Corgo river valley and offered splendid views to the characteristic vineyards clinging on to almost vertical. Until 1990 the Corgo line also continued north to Chaves.
The City Bus system in Vila Real is run by Corgobus. Has 5 lines and transported about 1.35 million people in 2008.
- Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) Portugal - 100 km
- Porto Portugal - 97 km
- Lisboa Portugal - 411 km
- Braga Portugal - 100 km
- Chaves Portugal - 68 km
- Bragança Portugal - 120 km
- Viseu Portugal - 90 km
- Madrid Spain - 520 km
- Faro Portugal - 613 km
Vila Real's municipality consists of 30 freguesias or civil parishes, which are not all coexistent with the ecclesiastical parishes or paróquias. Three small civil parishes near the centre of the municipality are officially the city of Vila Real
The civil (administrative) parishes of the Vila Real municipality are:
Geography and climate
Located in a promontory, formed by the gorges of the Corgo and Cabril rivers, Vila Real has an elevation of 460 m. The Alvão and Marão mountains overlook the town on the North and West side, respectively, rising up to 1400 m.
Due to the geographical location, its climate is a mix between Temperate and Mediterranean. Winters are long, with negative temperatures and frequent frosts. In Summer, it is common to reach temperatures near 40 °C.
|Weather averages for Vila Real|
|Average high °C||10,2||12,3||15,3||18,2||20,7||25,7||29,1||29,3||25,7||20,2||14,2||10,5||19,3|
|Average low °C||2,3||2,6||5,2||6,9||9,1||12,2||13,8||13,9||12,5||8,7||5,2||2,7||7,9|
|Data from 1931 to 1960.|
- Diogo Cão (15th century) - Navigator
- Gen. José Augusto Alves Roçadas (1865–1926) - Colonial governor in Angola
- Carvalho Araújo (1881–1918) - Politician and Military
- Paulo Alves (b. 1969) - Football Player
- Simão Sabrosa (b. 1979) - Football Player
Twin towns — Sister cities
Vila Real is twinned with:
- Osnabrück (Germany)
- Ourense (Spain)
- Grasse (France)
- Mende (France)
- Espinho (Portugal)
- Oeiras (Portugal)
- Portimão (Portugal)
Vila Real was the 4th Portuguese town to have public supply of electricity, but it was the first to produce hydroelectric power, in 1894.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Villa Real.|
- Municipality official website
- University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
- Vila Real Theatre
- Infantry Regiment no. 13
- Photos from Vila Real
- AeroVIP site (Flights Bragança - Vila Real - Lisboa)
- Instituto Nacional de Estatística
- UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)
- Classificação Expresso das melhores cidades portuguesas para viver em 2007, Expresso
- Insight Guides Portugal (2011 edition).
- "Eu só com este páu, sou capaz de defender Ceuta, de todo o poder dos mouros", as reported in Portugal antigo e moderno, 1878, p.495.