Vila Nova de Cerveira

Vila Nova de Cerveira


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 41°58′N 8°41′W / 41.967°N 8.683°W / 41.967; -8.683Coordinates: 41°58′N 8°41′W / 41.967°N 8.683°W / 41.967; -8.683
Country  Portugal
Region Norte
Subregion Minho-Lima
Intermunic. comm. Alto Minho
District Viana do Castelo
Parishes 11
  President Fernando Nogueira (PenCe)
  Total 108.47 km2 (41.88 sq mi)
Population (2011)
  Total 9,253
  Density 85/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)

Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ˈnɔvɐ ðɨ sɨɾˈvɐjɾɐ], locally: [ˈbilɐ ˈnɔβɐ ðɨ sɨɾˈβɐjɾɐ]) is a municipality in the district of Viana do Castelo in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 9,253,[1] in an area of 108.47 km².[2]

The present Mayor is Fernando Nogueira, elected by the PenCe (independent movement). The municipal holiday is October 1.


Administratively, the municipality is divided into 11 civil parishes (freguesias):[3]

General information

The town was founded by King Denis of Portugal in 1321 and today is mainly known and visited due to the international biennial of art[4] that takes place in the town since 1978.


Between the river and the mountain, Vila Nova de Cerveira is located on the left bank of Minho River, which establishes the border with Spain, and is limited to northeast with the municipality of Valença, Paredes de Coura to the east, Ponte de Lima to the south, and Caminha to south-southwest.

Bridge over the Minho river linking Portugal and Spain

The name of the village

The name of the village is explained by a legend.

"Once upon a time... there was a stag (deer) that was chosen by the Gods of Olympos to become a King. And so the stag decided to move, together with other stags, to this uninhabited territory that began to be known as "Terras de Cervaria" (Land of the Stags). Many years flew past. Fights, skirmishes, and disasters gradually devastated the colony until only the King Stag was left. According to the legend, when the noblemen from Asturias came down during the Reconquest to conquer what was to become the Condado Portucalense (Portugal), a young noblemen challenged the King Stag to a face-to-face duel. And the old Lord accepted. The duel took place among the trees and weeds on a trenched site. And, so the legend tells, the King Stag swept to victory! He kept the nobleman's flag that turned to be the King's coat of arms. But the Gods deceived the old King. He wouldn't be immortal... Tired of living and ill, the old Lord died in the loneliness of the crags and with him disappeared for good the Terra da Cervaria."

But the legend wasn't forgotten and the coat-of-arms still bears a golden passant stag in silver armour standing in a green field.


Vila Nova de Cerveira was established by the King Denis of Portugal on 1 October 1321, who also ordered the construction of Castelo de Vila Nova de Cerveira, the castle that still dominates the town center.


Solar dos Castros


  1. Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. Direção-Geral do Território
  3. Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 132" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  4. Vila Nova de Cerveira international biennial of art Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Pousada de Vila Nova de Cerveira - D. Diniz is set in a small 18th century manor house, where rooms and suites have their own courtyards
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