Belmonte Municipality

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Belmonte is a small town ( Vila ) and a circle ( concelho ) in Portugal. It is one of the twelve historic villages, aldeias Históricas de Portugal, and is part of the speech de Judiarias, the route of the Portuguese Jewish quarter.

  • 4.1 Circle Belmonte
  • 4.2 Demographics
  • 4.3 Twin towns


Located in the mountain area below the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela, Belmonte is located about 25 km south of Guarda. It is located about 60 km north of the district capital of Castelo Branco.


Belmonte got city rights in 1199 by the second king of Portugal Sancho I, the colonizers ( "o povoador "). In the small village is a castle that was owned for centuries by the Cabral family - see also the coat of arms. This family has come Gonçalo Velho Cabral Pedro Álvares Cabral and Admiral (1467-1526), who with his fleet an unknown land for the Portuguese king took possession in 1500 - later to Brazil. In a small chapel near the castle is now home to a grave monument of Pedro Álvares Cabral.

Age of Discovery

Belmonte, Viseu and Covilhã, a region around the Serra da Estrela, although in the interior of Portugal, strongly associated with Portugal's Age of Discovery:

  • Henry the Navigator, his first title of nobility was " O Senhor da Covilhã " (Mr. Covilhã );
  • Pedro Álvares Cabral was born in Belmonte, Brazil - "discoverer" and the first navigator who was heading in a travel four continents: America, Africa, Asia and Europe;
  • Gil Eanes the Cape Bojador -slayer, received for his services the title of " Fronteiro Mor da Beira " - and thus control of the whole " Serra da Estrala region";
  • Pedro da Covilha ( born 1450 in Covilhã, died 1530 in Ethiopia ); the Indiaman prepared the journey of Vasco da Gama in the land; he had obtained in 1487 by King João II commissioned to explore the Arab trading centers in the Indian Ocean and reached the first Portuguese Calicut in India;
  • Master José Vizinho physician, astronomer and navigator, Jew from the great congregation of Covilhã, students Abraão Zacuto the Sephardic astronomer and physician of King Dom João II José Vizinho traveled several times the coasts of Africa to the equator, in 1485 he was the king of the coasts of Guinea sent to develop methods for nautical sailing beyond the equator; he developed with Martin Behaim and Master Rodrigo an astrolabe made ​​of wood. José Vizinho was friends with Christopher Columbus, who was also his teacher Zacuto in connection therewith;
  • Master Rui Faleiro ( born 1544 in Covilhã ), Portuguese astronomer, ( the Spice Islands ) was responsible for the scientific and organizational preparation for the trip Fernão de Magalhães to the Moluccas. The trip culminated in the first world circumnavigation;
  • Francisco Faleiro, brother of Rui Faleiro, has developed significant progress in the determination of the geographic latitude and longitude - " tratado because agulha de marear ", 1514 and " tratado Esphera del y del arte del marear ", in 1535.

Jewish History Belmonte

Even before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, many Jews settled in the border regions of northern Portugal to ( Beira ). On Portuguese- Sephardic Jews decisive progress in astronomy, cartography, cosmography and mathematics declined. They allowed only as the great Portuguese discoveries of the 15th and 16th century. From her knowledge then benefited the projects of Henry the Navigator, the Duke of Viseu, Lord of Covilhã was. In Belmonte, Covilhã, Guarda, Trancoso and other villages north of Portugal flourished the communities of Portuguese Jews, they had a significant role and contributed decisively to the development of trade and the wool industry in the Serra da Estrela.

In Belmonte one of the last crypto- Jewish communities of the Iberian peninsula has preserved until today - Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity during the Inquisition and then lived parts of their old faith in secret. Since 1989 the church has been officially recognized.

On 4 December 1996 eventually became the modern synagogue Bet Eliahu, donated by rich Moroccan and North American Jews, inaugurated in Belmonte. Since 2005, there is in place with the Museu de Belmonte Judaico the most important Jewish Museum of Portugal open to visitors.

Rotas de Sefarad, an association of places of historical Jewish communities in Portugal, whose most important place is Belmonte - On March 17, 2011, speech de Judiarias de Portugal founded. Goal is the preservation of buildings, objects and knowledge of the Jewish and crypto- Jewish traditions, and a common tourist offer, get to know them.


  • Castle of Belmonte
  • The Centum Celae ( about 1.5 km towards Guarda away from the city), the ruins of a 22 meter high tower Roman, the " da Torre Colmeal " served the tin - dealer " Lucius Caecilius " in residence as well as Torre de São Cornélio is known.
  • Pousada de Belmonte, in the historic Convento (Convent ) of Belmonte
  • The Jewish Museum in Belmonte, opened on 17 April 2005
  • The New Synagogue "Bet Eliahu ".
  • The Romanesque-Gothic " Capela de Santiago ".


Circle Belmonte

Belmonte is the seat of the homonymous district. The neighboring districts are (clockwise starting from the north ): Guarda Sabugal Fundão and Covilhã.

The following municipalities ( Freguesias ) lying in circle Belmonte:

  • Belmonte
  • Caria
  • Colmeal da Torre
  • Inguias
  • Maçainhas


Twin Cities

  • France France: La Meziere, in the department of Ille -et -Vilaine (since 1988)
  • Brazil Brazil: Santa Cruz Cabrália (since 1999)
  • Brazil Brazil: Belmonte (since 1999)
  • Brazil Brazil: São Vicente ( since 2000)


Belmonte is located on the A23 motorway, with its train station just outside a stop on the Linha da Beira Baixa.