:"Vişeu is also a river in northern Romania."

official_name = Viseu
image_coat_of_arms = VIS.png

Region = Centro
Subregion = Dão-Lafões
District = Viseu
Mayor_name = Fernando Ruas
Mayor_party = PSD
area_total = 507.1
population_total = 98,753
population_density = 191
Parishes = 34
coor = 40º40'N 7º55'W
params = 40_40_N_7_55_W
occasion =
day = September 21
website =

Viseu (pronounced|viˈzew) is both a city (capital of the District of Viseu) and a municipality in the Dão-Lafões subregion of Centro Region, Portugal. The municipality, with an area of 507.1 km², has a population of 98,753 (2006), and the city proper has 47,250 [ [ UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004] Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)] . The Greater Metropolitan Area of Viseu is also one of the "Grandes Áreas Metropolitanas" - Greater Metropolitan Areas of Portugal with 354,162 habitants.

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 near the Portuguese-Spanish border and then on to Salamanca, Spain. Coimbra, 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. 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, 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 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 (? - 139 BC), the Lusitanians' leader who fought the invading Romans for the freedom of Lusitania, made by the Spanish sculptor Mariano Benlliure (1862 - 1947). In 714 AD Viseu was taken by the Moors who held it for almost a century. The city's Romanesque/Gothic cathedral dates from 830 AD. She was captured by Alfonso II of Asturias in 791 but was recaptured by Moors in 930. She was finally captured by Ferdinand I of León on expense of the Taifa of Batlabus in 1058.

When Alfonso II of Asturias conquered Viseu a grave was found with the following incription: 'Hic requiescit Rudericus rex gothorum ' (Here lies Rodrigo 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, but his body was never found.

Viseu was the birthplace of one of the greatest Portuguese painters of the sixteenth century, Vasco Fernandes (1475-1540), known as "Grão Vasco", who today lends his name to a museum that houses most of his paintings (the Grão Vasco Museum), a hotel, a school, and even a brand of wine. 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. In addition to the 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.


Viseu is half way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Spanish border. Surrounded by a number of mountains - Leomil, Montemuro, Lapa, Arada, Estrela and Caramulo - 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 and the Paiva.

Situated in a zone of transition, the "concelho" 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 River Mondego'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.


Due to migration in the 1960s, Viseu suffered a great decline in its population. After the end of the Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974), with the return of refugees from the Portuguese African colonies 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.


The city and the region are famous for its wine (Dão wine) and annual agricultural fair. Local handicrafts include black pottery, bobbin lace, embroidery, and copper and wroughtiron articles. With the good connections to major industrial centers several industries have been installed in Viseu. Visabeira, a Portugal-based international conglomerate with interests on telecommunications, construction, industry, tourism, real estate and diversified services is headquartered in the city. Viseu, together with Leiria, is one of the fastest growing economic centers among the Portuguese district capitals.


Viseu is the location of the state-run "Instituto Politécnico de Viseu" which has higher education polytechnic 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, but its desire was never achieved. However, there are 2 private university institutions, the "Universidade Católica Portuguesa" and the "Instituto Piaget".

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


The city of Viseu has a bus network - STUV - which operates several lines within the entire municipality. The A25 motorway (former IP5) connects Viseu to the seaport of Aveiro and Guarda and then on to Salamanca in Spain. The IP3 and A24, connecting Coimbra 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 (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.


* Abraveses
* 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

* Carlos Lopes, marathonist. Holds the Olympic Marathon Record.


ee also

*Centro, Portugal

External links

* [ Viseu City Government]
* [ Instituto Superior Politécnico de Viseu]
* [ Photos of Viseu]
* [ Portal de Viseu]
* [ Notícias de Viseu] a local newspaper (in Portuguese)
* [ Portal de Tondela]
* [] local newspapers available online

* [ Photos from Viseu]

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