History of Amarante

Presumably Amarante’s origins are related to the primitive peoples that lived in the Aboboreira Mountain (populated since the Stone Age) although the exactness of its founders’ names is still unknown. There are evidences of posterior settlement in the Bronze Age and moreover of the Roman civilisation, more dispersed by the territory.

It is believed that the first structure to be built in the limits of the contemporary city of Amarante was the lodging Albergaria do Covelo do Tâmega in the XII century, by the order of Queen Mafalda, wife of the king D. Afonso Henriques.

This kind of lodging was built in scarcely populated areas and it was intended to accommodate the nomads, especially the poor ones that had difficulties in finding assistance in their trips through the territory. In spite of existing at that time the Saint Veríssimo church, the Lufrei church and others Romanic style churches in the region, around which the population had settled, it is believed that the Albergaria was the centre of the village.

This would begin to be established a century later in the limits of today’s historic city centre. It is certain that the city has gained importance and prominence with the arrival of Saint Gonçalo (1187-1259) that has settled in it after his pilgrimage through Rome and Jerusalem.

In times not very far from now Amarante has belonged to the Minho province bordering on Celorico de Basto from the North, Gestaço from the East, Gouveia from the South and Santa Cruz de Riba Tâmega from the West. With the liberal administrative reforms of the XIX century the boroughs of Gouveia, Gestaço and Santa Cruz de Riba Tâmega have disappeared having Amarante received the majority of those boroughs.

Since then Amarante is extended for a 301,5Km² area which corresponds today to a total of 26 boroughs occupying a privileged position in the Douro-Tâmega region.