Castel Branco 3


The city of Castelo Branco is a municipality and former bishopric in Castelo Branco District, in Centro Region, Portugal. The name means "white castle" in Portuguese.

The city of Castelo Branco is made up of 19 Freguesias (civil parish) with a population of 30,649 in 2001.[1] The municipality has a total of 19 parishes. The population in 2011 was 56,109,[2] in an area of 1,438.19 square kilometres (555.29 square miles), making it one of the largest municipalities in Portugal.[3]

It is bounded in the north by the municipality of Fundão, in the east by Idanha-a-Nova, in the south by Spain, in the southwest by Vila Velha de Ródão, and in the west by Proença-a-Nova and Oleiros.

Castelo Branco gets its name from the prior existence of a Luso-Roman castrum or fortified settlement called Castra Leuca, on the summit of the hill of Colina da Cardosa. The population grew on the slopes of this hill.

Little is known of the history before 1182. There is, nevertheless, a document, from this date, mentioning the donation to the Templars of a piece of land called Vila Franca da Cardosa, by a noble Fernandes Sanches. In 1213 it received its autonomy or foral and the name Castel-Branco appears for the first time. Pope Innocent III confirmed this in 1215 giving it the name of Castelo Branco.

It was around this time that the Templar Knights built the walls and the castle.

In 1510 a new foral was conceded by Manuel I and in 1642 the town acquired the status of Vila de Castelo Branco.

In 1771 Castelo Branco became a city and a bishopric (see below) until 1881.




In 1858 a telegraph line was opened between Abrantes and Castelo Branco and in 1860 the city received its first public lighting.

In 1959 it became capital of the district of the same name.


Pope Clement XIV created the diocese of Castelo Branco on 1771.06.07.

On 1881.09.30 it was suppressed and its territory merged into the then Diocese of Portalegre, which adopted its title, becoming the present Diocese of Portalegre-Castelo Branco, and made the former Cathedral of Castelo Branco, dedicated to St. Michael theArchangel, its Co-cathedral. 

The most important monument in Castelo Branco is the Jardim do Paço Episcopal (Garden of the Episcopal Palace). It is one of the most beautiful baroque gardens in Portugal and contains statues of allegories, kings and zodiacal signs, arranged around ponds, terraces and staircases.


Author:Bling King
Published:Aug 5th 2020
Modified:Aug 5th 2020

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