Santa Maria da Feira

Santa Maria da Feira


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 40°56′N 8°32′W / 40.933°N 8.533°W / 40.933; -8.533Coordinates: 40°56′N 8°32′W / 40.933°N 8.533°W / 40.933; -8.533
Country  Portugal
Region Norte
Subregion Entre Douro e Vouga
Metropolitan area Porto
District Aveiro
Parishes 21
  President Emídio Sousa (PSD)
  Total 215.88 km2 (83.35 sq mi)
Population (2011)
  Total 139,309
  Density 650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zone WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)

Santa Maria da Feira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɐ̃tɐ mɐˈɾi.ɐ ðɐ ˈfejɾɐ]) is a city and a municipality in Aveiro District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 139,309,[1] in an area of 215.88 km².[2]


Castle at Santa Maria da Feira

Santa Maria is located in area that allowed it to be a crossroads of various peoples. Ancient Roman roadways connected Porto, Viseu, Lisbon and Braga and intersected the region, and was used until the 19th century. In addition, pre-Roman castros dotted the territory.

Eventually, nomadic tribes began to settle in the vicinity of the castle and began to sell various products (salt, implements, tools and agricultural products). This settlement soon became known as the Terra de Santa Maria. This name first appeared in 1117, in a donation by D. Teresa, who began to reside in the castle around 1120 (many of the documents associated with the name started appearing from this time, including various funeral documents already existed in the 4th and 5th century. The lands of Santa Maria included a vast territory that included not only the municipality of Feira, but also Ovar, Vila Nova de Gaia, Vale de Cambra and São João da Madeira, among others.

The castle of Santa Maria da Feira, the ex-libris of Feira, is a testament to the military architecture of the Middle Ages. It is the fulcrum of the history of the region, and an important point in the Reconquista.

In the time of king Denis of Portugal, Feira already was the see of a julgado (old administrative division). This is testified by an ancient document called Foral Velho. It was awarded a new foral in 1514, when Manuel I of Portugal was the King of Portugal.


Population of
the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira
(1801 - 2011)
1801 27,851    
1849 37,823+35.8%
1900 44,596+17.9%
1930 52,679+18.1%
1960 83,483+58.5%
1981 109,531+31.2%
1991 118,641+8.3%
2001 135,964+14.6%
2011 139,312+2.5%

The municipality includes several towns (vilas) and 3 cities (cidades): Santa Maria da Feira, Fiães and Lourosa. It is the most populous municipio in Entre Douro e Vouga and it is part of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto.

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 21 civil parishes (freguesias):[3]

International relations

Santa Maria da Feira Municipality is twinned with:


Santa Maria da Feira is a heavily industrialized municipality and is famous for its several cork transforming and shoe factories. The town is the headquarters of Amorim corporation. The seat of the municipality is Feira, famous for its medieval castle which was the residence of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, for a short period of time. The castle, located at the top of a hill, was of considerable strategic importance during its time.

Every year, in summer, a medieval festival takes place in Santa Maria da Feira - the Feira Medieval - during which the city goes back to the Middle Ages.


Municipality's sights include the Convento do Espírito Santo (convent), the Igreja da Misericórdia (church; 18th century), and the Rua Direita (street; 18th and 19th century architecture). However, its greatest landmark is the castelo Santa Maria da Feira Castle, from the 11th century.


Medieval festival parade
Fogaça - typical sweet bread

The municipal holiday is January 20. It's the day when the whole municipality celebrates the Fogaceiras. The Fogaceiras is a special local holiday. During the Middle Ages, the lands of Santa Maria (as it was known back then) were infested by the dark plague. To get rid of this calamity, the locals offered a sweet roll, called fogaça, to the patron saint Saint Sebastien. The Fogaceiras have been celebrated for five hundred years, since the eradication of the dark plague.

The municipality has a science museum, the Visionarium.


  1. Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), Census 2011 results according to the 2013 administrative division of Portugal
  2. Direção-Geral do Território
  3. Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 106-107" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  4. "International Contacts". Targovishte Municipality. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
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