Guimarães, Portugal

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

First capital of Portugal

Historic Centre of Guimarães

Registration Year


Historical function

Religious and Political

Location and site

Guimarães is located in the Minho region, on the north-west of Portugal. It is surrounded by mountains of which the highest is the Mountain of Santa Catarina (Penha). The city is crossed by the River Ave that passes by a long valley where several industries, connected to cutelery, textile and shoe manufacture, have settled.

Urban morphology

  • The town of Guimarães developed itself around two dynamic centres: the castle in the hill and the convent of Mumadona in the plain. Thus two distinct people, with a parallel growth, develop. That development takes place until the reign of D. Dinis when he made built a wall that around. With the installation of the religious orders – Dominican and Franciscan –  the urbanization extended outside the wall. In 17th century the Queen D. Maria II gives the title of city to Guimarães. Since then the tearing down of the walls was authorized. Even today it is possible to se traces of the walls.
  • Guimarães has had its own evolution due to the morphology of its urban fabric of medieval origin, which configures a succession of squares, of great formal value, and a specific type of construction (most of it from the 17th century) of typological diversity, completely constructed with traditional techniques – ‘taipa de rodizio’ and ‘taipa de fasquio’ (construction techniques that have wood as its most important component) but with a large formal unity as a whole.

Registration criteria

Historic Centre of Guimarães (C ii, iii, iv) The historic town of Guimarães is associated with the creation of the Portuguese national identity in the twelfth century. It is an exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern township. The town’s rich building typology represents the specifically Portuguese development from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, consistently using traditional building materials and techniques.

Historical reference

  • In the 10th century, by the order of Countess Mumadona Dias was built in the property of Vimaranes – now  Guimarães – the monastery of monks and nuns of Santa Maria, São Salvador e Todos os Santos. In the year 986 she ordered the construction of a castle to ensure the safety of the population.
  • In the 11th century the count D. Henrique of Burgundy and his wife D. Teresa – daughter of the King of Leon -, came to live in the County of Portucale From this marriage was born D. Afonso Henriques who would later became the first King of Portugal.
  • In the year 1128 – more precisely on 24th  June – took place the battle of S. Mamede, very close to the castle of Guimarães. This battle opposed D. Afonso Henriques to D. Teresa (his mother) and the count of Trava of Galiza. The first defended the independence of the County of Portugal against the forces of his mother. The battle was won by D. Afonso Henriques. Thus began the Portuguese nation.


Dr. Domingos Bragança

Câmara Municipal de Guimarães

Largo José Maria Gomes
Guimarães, Portugal


Drª Isabel Pinho

Head of Culture
Câmara Municipal de Guimarães

Largo Cónego José Maria Gomes
Guimaraes, Portugal