Viana do Castelo Municipality
|Viana do Castelo|
One of the main squares of Viana do Castelo
|Official name: Concelho de Viana do Castelo|
|District||Viana do Castelo|
|Area||318.6 km2 (123 sq mi)|
|- location||Passeio das Mordomas da Romaria|
|President||José Maria Costa (PS)|
|Municipal chair||Flora Silva (PS)|
|- summer (DST)||WEST (UTC+1)|
|ISO 3166-2 code||PT-|
|Postal Zone||4904-877 Viana do Castelo|
|Area code & prefix||(+351) 258 XX XX XX|
|Patron saint||Nossa Senhora da Agonia|
|Municipal address||Passeio das Mordomas da Romaria
4904-877 Viana do Castelo
|Municipal holidays||20 August|
|Wikimedia Commons: Viana do Castelo|
|Statistics: Instituto Nacional de Estatística|
|Geographic detail from CAOP (2010) produced by Instituto Geográfico Português (IGP)|
Viana do Castelo (Portuguese pronunciation: [viˈɐnɐ ðu kɐʃˈtɛlu]) is a municipality and seat of the district of Viana do Castelo in the Norte Region of Portugal. The urbanized area of the municipality, comprising the city, has a population of approximately 36,148 inhabitants, while the municipality includes 91238 residents (based on 2006 statistics), covering an area of 318.6 square kilometres (123.0 sq mi).
Human settlement in the region of Viana began during the Mesolithic era, from discoveries and archaeological excavations. Even around the Roman occupation the area was settled along the Mount of Santa Luzia.
In the 16th century, its port gained great importance as one of the entry-points for Portuguese explorers and traders, involved in the Portuguese discoveries. Many of the historical buildings originated during this period.
The prosperity that continued developed from the town's role as a port, protected by defensive structures (such as the Tower of Roqueta) to repel pirates from Galicia and north Africa. The port's ties to northern Europe came primarily from exports of wine, fruits and salt, and imports of tile, textiles and glass.
The commercial spirit of Viana reached its greatest proportions during the reign of Queen Maria II of Portugal, when the monarch established the Associação Comercial de Viana do Castelo in 1852 (the fourth oldest public company of its type). The queen, in order to compensate the loyalty of its citizens, who did not surrender to the Count of Antas, elevated the town to the status of city on 20 January 1848, renaming the settlement its current name.
Administratively, while the municipality is governed by an executive and council (much like a city council), the urban cities do not have political authority and are used a reference for social and cultural activities. At the local level, there are local 40 civil parishes that administer programs and implement infrastructural projects, that include:
- Areosa (Viana do Castelo)
- Castelo do Neiva
- Darque (Viana do Castelo)
- Freixieiro de Soutelo
- Meadela (Viana do Castelo)
- Monserrate (Viana do Castelo)
- Moreira de Geraz do Lima
- (São Gil de) Perre
- Portela Susã
- Santa Marta de Portuzelo
- Santa Leocádia de Geraz do Lima
- Santa Maria de Geraz do Lima
- Santa Maria Maior (Viana do Castelo)
- Vila de Punhe
- Vila Franca
- Vila Fria
- Vila Mou
- Vila Nova de Cerveira
- Vilar de Murteda
The city has a seaport with naval repairing facilities; its major industries are related to naval construction and repair, with the Estaleiros da Viana do Castelo remaining one of the few large shipyards still in operation.
- Geraz do Lima carriage museum
- Renaissance fountain (1535) in the Major Square
- Palacio de Tavoras, a noble residence from the 16th-17th centuries
- Municipal Museum, housed in an 18th-century building and home to
- Monument to Caramuru and Paraguaçu by Jose Rodrigues at the Republic square.
- Paços do Conselho ("Palace of the Council", 1502), of which only the façade remains today
- Castelo do Neiva: the castle has been owned by the parish of Viana do Castelo since the beginning of the 19th century.
- Church of Sâo Domingos (1576)
- Church of Santa Luzia (19th century), designed by Miguel Ventura Terra
- Nossa Senhora da Agonia, church in Roccoco style
- Chapel of the Sagrada Família (Portuguese: Capela da Sagrada Família e Portal da Quinta dos Espregueira)
- Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Esperança (Portuguese: Capela de Nossa Senhora da Esperança)
- Sé Cathedral of Viana do Castelo (Portuguese: Igreja Matriz de Viana do Castelo/Catedral de Viana do Castelo/Sé de Viana do Castelo), the 15th century parochial church and cathedral, was constructed in the Romanesque style, comprising a façade flanked by two large towers with merlons, while the middle Gothic portal with archivolts is decorated by sculptures depicting the Passion of Christ and of the Apostles. The interior designed in the form of the Latin cross, includes a nave and two aisles (separated by arches supported by pillars), as well as two ancillary chapels dedicated to São Bernado and the Holy Sacrament, both attributed to João Lopes "the Elder".
- Misericórdia of Viana do Castelo (Portuguese: Misericórdia de Viana do Castelo), designed in the Flemish-style, the building dates back to 1589
There are also other Christian religions.
In 2009, Viana do Castelo became the first Portuguese municipality to abolish bullfighting on the grounds of animal cruelty. Yet, on 19 August 2012, the courts approved a bullfighting event on cultural grounds, in the civil parish of Areosa, against local authority's wishes, while supported by the National Portuguese Municipalities Association (ANMP) on the grounds of freedom of expression. The former-president of the local council, who had approved the original bullfighting ban, criticized the court as having made a “scandalous decision”.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Viana do Castelo is twinned with:
- INE, ed. (2010), Censos 2011 - Resultadas Preliminares [2011 Census - Preliminary Results] (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto Nacional de Estatística, retrieved 1 January 2012
- IGP, ed. (2010), Carta Administrativa Oficial de Portugal (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto Geográfico Português, retrieved 1 January 2012
-  Sell-out bullfight held in Viana do Castelo against council’s will
- "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26.