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Belmonte (Portugal)

Belmonte
Municipality (Concelho)
Flag
Coat of arms
Official name: Concelho de Belmonte
Country  Portugal
Region Centro
Subregion Cova da Beira
District Castelo Branco
Municipality Belmonte
Coordinates 21|N|7|21|W|type:city(7662)_region:PT name=

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Area 118.8 km2 (46 sq mi)
Population 7,662 (2001)
Density 65 / km2 (168 / sq mi)
LAU Concelho/Câmara Municipal
 - location Rua Pedro Álvares Cabral, Belmonte, Belmonte
Municipal chair Joaquim Feliciano da Costa (PS)
Timezone WET (UTC0)
 - summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
ISO 3166-2 code PT-
Area code & prefix (+351) XXX XX XX XX
Municipal address Rua Pedro Álvares Cabral, 135
Municipal holidays 26 April
Location of the municipality of Belmonte in continental Portugal
Commons: Belmonte
Statistics: Instituto Nacional de Estatística[1]
Website: http://www.cm-belmonte.pt
Geographic detail from CAOP (2010)[2] produced by Instituto Geográfico Português (IGP)

Belmonte (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌbɛɫˈmõt(ɨ)]) is a municipality in Portugal. It has a total area of 118.8 km² and a total population of 7,662 inhabitants.

History

Belmonte is the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, the navigator who discovered the land of Vera Cruz, now known as Brazil. Located in the Church of Santa Maria is the iconic statue of Nossa Senhora da Esperança (Our Lady of Hope), which Cabral took with him in his voyage. Until 1834, the statue was held by the Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Esperança. The former religious facility has been adapted for use as a modern boutique hotel.

The singer Zeca Afonso lived in Belmonte for part of his childhood, between 1938 and 1940. He lived with his uncle, the mayor of the town, whilst his parents were living in Mozambique.

Belmonte is home to the last remaining community of marranos (known as the Belmonte Jews) They officially returned to Judaism in the 1970s and opened a synagogue in 1996.

In 2003, the American Sephardi Federation founded the Belmonte Project, designated to raise funds to acquire Judaic educational material and services for the community, which now numbers 160-180. They opened a Jewish Museum of Belmonte (Portuguese: Museu Judaico de Belmonte) on 17 April 2005. In the summer of 2006, the American Sephardi Federation ceased to have the Belmonte Project under its auspices.

Geography

Located in the historic district of Castelo Branco, the municipality is composed of five parishes:

  • Belmonte
  • Caria
  • Colmeal da Torre
  • Inguias
  • Maçaínhas

References

Notes

External links

  • Town Hall official website
  • American Sephardi Federation newsletter, Spring 2003
  • Photos from Belmonte
  • After 500 Years in Hiding, Jews Bring Prosperity to Iberian Town
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