Viseu

Viseu

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Viseu is both a city (capital of Viseu District) and a municipality
Municipalities of Portugal
In Portugal, municipality or concelho is the most stable subdivision of Portugal since the foundation of the country.Portugal has an entirely separate system of cities and towns. Cities and towns are located in municipalities, but often do not have the same boundaries, even if built-up is continuous...

 in the Dão-Lafões Subregion of Centro Region, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. The municipality, with an area of 507.1 km², has a population of 99,593 (2011), and the city proper has 47,250. The Greater Metropolitan Area of Viseu
Greater Metropolitan Area of Viseu
The Greater Metropolitan Area of Viseu is an administrative division in Portugal. It has 21 municipalities : Viseu, Tondela, Seia, Mangualde, São Pedro do Sul, Castro Daire, Gouveia, Nelas, Sátão, Santa Comba Dão, Vouzela, Moimenta da Beira, Oliveira de Frades, Carregal do Sal, Penalva do...

 is also one of the Grandes Áreas Metropolitanas - Greater Metropolitan Areas
Grande Área Metropolitana
A Greater Metropolitan Area is a type of administrative division in Portugal. Each one consists of at least nine municipalities and has at least 350,000 inhabitants...

 of Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 with 354,162 inhabitants.

Viseu has undergone a considerable economic growth, especially in the areas of telecommunications, industry, trade and education. Located in Portugal's northern-center the city is a crossroads linking the seaport of Aveiro in the Atlantic coast to Guarda
Guarda, Portugal
Guarda is a city in Guarda Municipality, Portugal. The city has a population of 32 111Guarda was founded in 1199 by the second king of Portugal, Sancho I....

 near the Portuguese-Spanish border and then on to Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

, Spain. Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, the regional seat of Centro Region, is about 80 km southwest. The city is noted on the arts scene due to the Grão Vasco Museum
Grão Vasco Museum
The Grão Vasco Museum is an art museum located in the city of Viseu, in Portugal. The museum is named after one of the most important Portuguese painters of the Renaissance, Vasco Fernandes , who had his workshop in Viseu.The museum, founded in 1916, occupies the building of the old Seminary,...

 and the Teatro Viriato. Wine making (Dao wines) is an important activity in the region. In ancient Portuguese history, Viseu is noted as one of the major urban centers in the area where Viriathus
Viriathus
Viriathus was the most important leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of Western Hispania , where the Roman province of Lusitania would be established...

, a legendary warrior and national hero, lived. With three higher education institutions within its limits, the city has played a role as a regional educational center. Its business community is among the largest of Portugal's interior countryside.

History and landmarks


The city name goes back to the end of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and the early Middle Ages where its name is derived from the Roman term "viso", which means a good view. This was in accordance with the place where the original settlement was formed in Roman times, that was its highest point.

Viseu has a statue of Viriathus
Viriathus
Viriathus was the most important leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of Western Hispania , where the Roman province of Lusitania would be established...

 (? - 139 BC), the Lusitanians
Lusitanians
The Lusitanians were an Indo-European people living in the Western Iberian Peninsula long before it became the Roman province of Lusitania . They spoke the Lusitanian language which might have been Celtic. The modern Portuguese people see the Lusitanians as their ancestors...

' leader who fought the invading Romans for the freedom of Lusitania
Lusitania
Lusitania or Hispania Lusitania was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain . It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people...

, made by the Spanish sculptor Mariano Benlliure
Mariano Benlliure
Mariano Benlliure was a Spanish sculptor, who executed many public monuments and religious sculptures in Spain, working in a heroic realist style....

 (1862–1947). In 714 AD Viseu was taken by the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 who held it for almost a century. The city's fine Romanesque/Gothic cathedral dates from 830 AD. It was captured by Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

 in 791 but was recaptured by Moors in 930. It was finally captured by Ferdinand I of León
Ferdinand I of León
Ferdinand I , called the Great , was the Count of Castile from his uncle's death in 1029 and the King of León after defeating his brother-in-law in 1037. According to tradition, he was the first to have himself crowned Emperor of Spain , and his heirs carried on the tradition...

 on expense of the Taifa of Batlabus
Badajoz
Badajoz is the capital of the Province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain, situated close to the Portuguese border, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid–Lisbon railway. The population in 2007 was 145,257....

 in 1058.

When Alfonso II of Asturias conquered Viseu a grave was found with the following inscription: 'Hic requiescit Rudericus rex gothorum ' (Here lies Rodrigo
Roderic
Ruderic was the Visigothic King of Hispania for a brief period between 710 and 712. He is famous in legend as "the last king of the Goths"...

 gothic king). Rodrigo was the last Visigothic king before the Muslim invasion of Iberia, and he was supposed to have died in the Battle of Guadalete
Battle of Guadalete
The Battle of Guadalete was fought in 711 or 712 at an unidentified location between the Christian Visigoths of Hispania under their king, Roderic, and an invading force of Muslim Arabs and Berbers under Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad. The battle was significant as the culmination of a series of Arab-Berber...

, but his body was never found.

Viseu was the birthplace of one of the greatest Portuguese painters of the sixteenth century, Vasco Fernandes
Vasco Fernandes
Vasco Fernandes , better known as Grão Vasco, was one of the main Portuguese Renaissance painters.Vasco Fernandes was probably born in Viseu, in Northern Portugal, where he began his career in the team of painters executing the main altarpiece of Viseu Cathedral . Between 1506 and 1511 he painted...

 (1475–1540), known as Grão Vasco, who today lends his name to a museum that houses most of his paintings (the Grão Vasco Museum
Grão Vasco Museum
The Grão Vasco Museum is an art museum located in the city of Viseu, in Portugal. The museum is named after one of the most important Portuguese painters of the Renaissance, Vasco Fernandes , who had his workshop in Viseu.The museum, founded in 1916, occupies the building of the old Seminary,...

), a hotel, a school, and even a wine label. The museum, installed in the old episcopal palace, shows some of his masterpieces and paintings of other painters of the period known as the School of Viseu.

The city is rich in churches, convents and chapels and has a fine historic quarter (Centro Historico) with narrow cobbled streets, hidden alleyways and intriguing flights of steps. In addition to its important cathedral there are six major churches, four chapels, two convents, and the bishop's palace. There is also a sacred art museum in the cathedral.

Geography



Viseu is approximately 50 km East of the Atlantic ocean. Surrounded by a number of mountains - Leomil, Montemuro, Lapa, Arada, Estrela and Caramulo
Caramulo
Caramulo is a town in Portugal....

 - the tops of which are covered with thick layers of snow in Winter time, the district is crossed by a network of rivers and streamlets.

The city of Viseu has an almost central position in relation to the District lying on the so-called Viseu Plateau (Port. Planalto de Viseu). It is surrounded by a mountainous system constituted to the north by the Leonil, Montemuro, and Lapa hills, to the northeast by the Arado hills, to the south and southeast by the Serra da Estrela and the Lousã hills and to the west by the Caramulo hills.

The Municipality is characterized by an irregular surface with altitudes ranging between 400 and 700 metres. With a rough terrain, it has numerous water courses. These are found in three basins: the Vouga, the Dão
Rio Dão
Rio Dão is a Portuguese river that originates in the plateau regions of Trancoso-Aguiar da Beira in the Eirado parish, Aguiar da Beira Municipality, Guarda District, and varies between 714 meters and 757 meters in elevation....

 and the Paiva.

Situated in a zone of transition, the concelho
Concelho
Concelho , in the Portuguese language, is the word municipality, when referring to the territory. The word município is used when municipality means the organ of State...

has several micro-climates. The Serra do Caramulo, located to the west of the city, plays an important role in climatic terms by lessening the influences of the western air masses (although the Mondego River's basin makes the penetration easier). Consequently, Viseu's climate is characterized by the existence of high temperature extremes, with rigorous and wet winters and hot and dry summers.

Demographics



Due to migration in the 1960s, Viseu suffered a great decline in its population. After the end of the Portuguese Colonial War
Portuguese Colonial War
The Portuguese Colonial War , also known in Portugal as the Overseas War or in the former colonies as the War of liberation , was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974, when the Portuguese regime was...

 (1961–1974), with the return of refugees from the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 African colonies
PALOP
The Portuguese-speaking African countries are a group of five African countries where the Portuguese language is the official language: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. Together with Portugal, Brazil and East Timor, these countries form the Community of...

 that achieved independence, and resulting economic and demographic growth, starting at the end of the 1970s, the municipality increased its population by about 10 percent, giving it an estimated population of 83,261 people. Afterwards, a stagnation set in, confirmed by the 1991 census which showed a population of 83,601.

Economy



The city and the region are famous for its wine (Dão Wine) and the Dão Wine institute, the Solar do Vinho do Dão can be found in the city. There is also an annual agricultural fair, the Feira de São Mateus. Furthermore, Viseu is also known for local handicrafts which include black pottery, bobbin lace, embroidery, and copper and wrought iron articles. With the good connections to major industrial centers and to the ports of Aveiro and Leixões
Leixões
Leixões is located 4 km to the north of Douro River mouth, in Matosinhos municipality, near the city of Porto. Leixões is one of Portugal's major seaports. Leixões Sport Club, commonly knows simply as Leixões, is Matosinhos' sports club....

, several industries have been installed in Viseu. Visabeira
Visabeira
Visabeira is a Portugal-based international conglomerate with interests on telecommunications, construction, industry, tourism, real estate, and service industries...

, a Portugal-based international conglomerate with interests in telecommunications, construction, industry, tourism, real estate and diversified services is headquartered in the city. Viseu also boasts a general hospital (Hospital of São Teotónio), two shopping & cinema complexes (the Fórum (2005) and the Palácio do Gelo (2008)), and numerous hostels and hotels in all categories.

Education


Viseu is the location of the state-run Instituto Politécnico de Viseu
Instituto Politécnico de Viseu
The creation of the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, on 26 December 1979, through the Governmental Act-of-Law nº513-T/7, is clearly framed by the broader philosophy which supported the successful implementation of polytechnic higher education in Portugal...

which has higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 polytechnic
Polytechnic (Portugal)
A polytechnic is a higher education educational institution in Portugal created in the 1980s. After 1998 they were upgraded to institutions which are allowed to confer licenciatura degrees. Before then, they only awarded short-cycle degrees which were known as bacharelatos and didn't provide...

 schools of education, technology and management, and agronomy. The city's political and civic groups have been pressuring the national government to upgrade this school into a university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

, but its desire was never achieved. However, there are 2 private university
Private university
Private universities are universities not operated by governments, although many receive public subsidies, especially in the form of tax breaks and public student loans and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. Private universities are...

 institutions, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and the Instituto Piaget
Instituto Piaget
Instituto Piaget is a Portuguese private institution of higher education with branches in Almada, Mirandela, Silves, Vila Nova de Gaia and Viseu. The Instituto Piaget provides both university and polytechnic higher education in a number of fields...

. Furthermore, since the Bologna process
Bologna process
The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

 the difference between universities and polytechnics are pointless, with the exception of some degrees like medicine, economics or law, that are only awarded in universities.

Two of its secondary education (the Portuguese equivalent of High School) establishments are the Escola Secundária Alves Martins and Escola Secundária Emídio Navarro.

Transportation


The city of Viseu has a bus network - STUV - which operates several lines within the entire municipality and a recently installed funicular connecting the lower city with the upper city. The A25 motorway (former IP5) connects Viseu to the seaport of Aveiro and Guarda
Guarda
Guarda Municipality is located in Guarda District, Beira Interior Norte sub-region in Centro Region in Portugal. It has a total area of 712.1 km² and a total population of 44,149. It contains the city of Guarda, Portugal....

 and then on to Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

 in Spain. The IP3 and A24, connecting Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

 with Chaves on the Spanish border, crosses Viseu from south to north. Until the nineteen eighties Viseu had railway connections with the coast, but these were closed. Now the city is one of the largest cities in Europe without a railway connection. Once it was connected to Aveiro (via linha do Vouga; narrow gauge), and Santa Comba Dão
Santa Comba Dão
Santa Comba Dão is a city and a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 112.0 km² and a total municipal population of 12,393 inhabitants...

 (narrow gauge), where it had connection to Linha da Beira Alta (broad gauge; international). The municipality has an airfield - the Aeródromo de Viseu (code VSE) in Lobato, parish of Lordosa, Viseu.

Parishes

  • Abraveses
    Abraveses
    Abraveses is a town in Viseu, Portugal....

  • Barreiros
  • Boa Aldeia
  • Bodiosa
  • Calde
  • Campo
  • Cavernães
  • Cepões
  • Coração de Jesus
  • Cota
  • Couto de Baixo
  • Couto de Cima
  • Fail
  • Farminhão
  • Fragosela
  • Lordosa
  • Mundão
  • Orgens
  • Povolide
  • Ranhados
  • Repeses
  • Ribafeita
  • Rio de Loba
  • Santa Maria de Viseu
  • Santos Evos
  • São Cipriano
  • São João de Lourosa
  • São José
  • São Pedro de France
  • São Salvador
  • Silgueiros
  • Torredeita
  • Vil de Souto
  • Vila Chã de Sá

  • Notable people

    • Vasco Fernandes
      Vasco Fernandes
      Vasco Fernandes , better known as Grão Vasco, was one of the main Portuguese Renaissance painters.Vasco Fernandes was probably born in Viseu, in Northern Portugal, where he began his career in the team of painters executing the main altarpiece of Viseu Cathedral . Between 1506 and 1511 he painted...

      , better known as Grão Vasco, one of the main Portuguese Renaissance painters.
    • Carlos Lopes
      Carlos Lopes
      Carlos Alberto de Sousa Lopes, GCIH, is a former Portuguese long-distance athlete, winner of the marathon race at the 1984 Summer Olympics, in Los Angeles. He brought home Portugal's first ever Olympic gold medal along with a new Olympic record - 2:09.21.Born in Vildemoinhos, near Viseu, Portugal,...

      , marathonist. Holds the Olympic Marathon Record.
    • Paulo Sousa
      Paulo Sousa
      Paulo Manuel Carvalho de Sousa, CavIH is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a defensive midfielder, and a current manager.He was a member of the “Portuguese Golden Generation”...

      , footballer. Two-time Champions League winner.

    External links