Amarante on the bank of the Rio Tâmega.
|Coordinates: 41°16′N 8°04′W / 41.267°N 8.067°WCoordinates: 41°16′N 8°04′W / 41.267°N 8.067°W|
|Intermunic. comm.||Tâmega e Sousa|
|• President||José Luis Gaspar (PSD)|
|• Total||301.33 km2 (116.34 sq mi)|
|• Density||190/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)|
Amarante (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐmɐˈɾɐ̃t(ɨ)]) is a town and a municipality in Porto District, in northern Portugal. Amarante is situated in the agricultural lands of the Minho region, and belongs to the Porto district, region Norte and sub-region Támega. The population in 2011 was 56,264, in an area of 301.33 km². The city itself had a population of 11,261 in 2001.
The Tâmega River runs through the town and is crossed by a large arched bridge, the Ponte São Gonçalo. It is reputed to have helped local forces fend off a French attack in the early 19th century. Nowadays the older centre of town is dominated by a multitude of cafés and restaurants dotted along the steep banks of the southern side of the Tâmega River. Amarante is also associated with the tale of Saint Gonzalo/Gonçalo de Amarante.
The area around Amarante was settled as early as the Stone Age by the prehistoric tribes who inhabited the Serra da Aboboreira. However, its importance increased only after the arrival of Saint Gonçalo de Amarante, in the 12th century. The construction of the stone bridge across the Tâmega river is credited to him.
After his death, Amarante became the destination of pilgrimages and grew substantially. In the 16th century, King John III of Portugal had the church of St. Mary turned into a large Dominican monastery near the bridge of St. Gonçalo. The bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1763 and was rebuilt.
During the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal, the bridge of Amarante was the seat of an episode of Portuguese resistance against the French troops led by general Henri François Delaborde. The city was set to fire by the French, and was later rebuilt.
The architecture of the Amarante region is mainly in the Romanesque style, with a number of Romanesque monuments (colonnades, arches, tympana and columns) throughout the region. They were built in deserted areas or on crossroads on the outskirts of inhabited areas, serving as meeting places, accommodation and defensive positions. Amarante became part of the Sousa Valley Romanesque Route (Rota do Românico) project on the 12 March 2010. The most notable buildings in the area are generally places of worship and include:
- Igreja de São Gonçalo
- Telões Church
- Jazente Church
- Gatão Church
- Mancelos Church
- Travanca Monastery
- Lufrei Church
- Real Church
- Gondar Monastery
- Freixo de Baixo Monastery
- Bridge and Cross of Fundo de Rua, at Aboadela
Important religious buildings can be found to the north of the Tâmega, and include the Travanca monastery, the Mancelos church, the Telões church, the Freixo de Baixo monastery and the Gatão church. On the southern side of the river, can be found the Jazente church, the Lufrei church and the Gondar monastery which are in a more modest style.
Amarante lies around half a kilometre from the A4 Motorway. There is also a bus station, served principally by Rodonorte, to the south of the Támega river. Between 1909 and 2009 Amarante was served by a narrow gauge railway line, which connected with the main Douro Valley railway line at Livraçao. Amarante station and the entire Tâmega line closed in 2009.
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 26 civil parishes (freguesias):
- Aboadela, Sanche e Várzea
- Amarante (São Gonçalo), Madalena, Cepelos e Gatão
- Bustelo, Carneiro e Carvalho de Rei
- Figueiró (Santiago e Santa Cristina)
- Freixo de Cima e de Baixo
- Olo e Canadelo
- Real, Ataíde e Oliveira
- Salvador do Monte
- São Simão de Gouveia
- Vila Caiz
- Vila Chã do Marão
- Vila Garcia, Aboim e Chapa
On the abandoned Tâmega railway line between Amarante and Chapa Stations, the Council of Amarante built the ˝Ecopista˝ pathway for bicycles and pedestrians. The Tâmega Line Ecotrack is 9.3 km (5.8 mi) long and 3.5 m (11.5 ft) wide, running very close to the Támega River.
The Amarante Golf Course, designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva, lies in Quinta da Deveza and was founded in 1997. It is an 18-hole, par 68 course with a total length of 5.030 metres. It is located in the Fregim parish, around 6 km (4 mi) from the town of Amarante.
Famous people of Amarante
Saint Gonçalo de Amarante is reported to have been responsible for the building of the principal bridge in Amarante. A large church, the Igreja de Sâo Gonçalo, lies to the north of this bridge. He was canonized in 1560.
The poet Teixeira de Pascoaes was born in Amarante on November 8, 1877. He was a representative of the Portuguese Renaissance movement, famous for both his poetry and prose. His name is also connected with ”Saudosismo”, a movement that promulgated “saudade” as a national spiritual value that could have transformative power. Saudade means “longing, nostalgia, yearning” for something absent, but it is a feeling fraught with more emotional weight and affective intensity than corresponding words from English and other languages convey. The house where Teixeira spent his childhood is located in the centre of Amarante.
- Instituto Nacional de Estatística
- Direção-Geral do Território
- UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)
- "Bl. Gonzalo de Amarante". catholic.org. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Amarante, Testimony of History, Romanesque Municipio de Amarante
- Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 13-14" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 16 July 2014.
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