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Amarante is a town in Amarante Municipality, Portugal.
The settlement of Amarante is believed to have existed since the 4th century BC. Its name comes from amar, the Portuguese verb "to love". Amarante is situated in the rich northern agricultural lands of the Minho region, and belongs to the Porto district, region North and sub-region Támega. It is the seat of a municipality with 301.3 km2 (116 sq mi) and 56,264 inhabitants (2011), subdivided into 40 parishes called freguesia in Portuguese. The city itself has a population of 11,261 inhabitants. The Tâmega River runs through the town and is crossed by a large arched bridge, the Ponte São Gonçalo. It is reputed to have assisted local forces fend off a French attack in the early 19th century. Nowadays the older centre of town is dominated by a multitude of cafés and restaurants dotted along the steep banks of the southern side of the Tâmega river. Amarante is also associated with the tale of Saint Gonzalo/Goncalo De Amarante
The architecture of the Amarante region is mainly in the Romanesque style, and there are a number of Romanesque monuments (colonnades, arches, tympana and columns) distributed throughout the region. They were built in deserted areas or on crossroads on the outskirts of inhabited areas, serving as meeting places, accommodation and defensive positions. Amarante became part of the Sousa Valley Romanesque Route (Rota do Românico) project on the 12th March 2010. The most notable buildings in the area are generally places of worship and include:
The grandest religious buildings in Amarante can be found to the north of the Tâmega, and include the Travanca monastery, the Mancelos church, the Telões church, the Freixo de Baixo monastery and the Gatão church. On the southern side of the river, which has historically had fewer economic resources and raw materials, can be found the Jazente church, the Lufrei church and the Gondar monastery which are in a more modest style.
During festivities phallic pastries (to the right) are sold in Amarante in the name of Saint Gonçalo de Amarante (Portuguese), in order to promote pro-creation. This custom is claimed to have originated with the Celts.
Amarante was once linked to the rest of Portugal by train, but it now lies around half a kilometre from the A4 Motorway. There is also a bus station, served principally by Rodonorte, to the south of the Támega river.
Built on the abandoned Támega railway line between Amarante and Chapa 'stations' the Council of Amarante built the ˝Ecopista˝ pathway for bicycles and pedestrians. The Tâmega Line Ecotrack is 9.3 km (5.8 mi) long and 3.5 m (11.5 ft) wide. The route enables users to view the region’s natural landscape: characterized by preserved green zones and complemented by dense forestry cover for shade, it runs very close to the Támega river. Public lighting is installed in the section between the Amarante and Gatão stations, giving it a more urban feel, and making it appropriate for jogging. Benches and rubbish bins can be found in strategic points along the route and signs and information panels for location and direction identify certain highlights of the local landscape.
The Amarante Golf Course, designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva, lies in Quinta da Deveza and was founded in 1997. It is an 18-hole, par 68 course with total length of 5.030 metres and is located in the Fregim parish around 6 km (4 mi) from the town of Amarante. It is unique for its view of the surrounding landscape north of the Douro, created by the river Tâmega, where the highlight is the view to the Marão and Aboboreira mountain ranges. The course is located at an approximate height of 600 meters and occupies about 100 acres (40 ha) and has 7 par 3 holes, 8 par 4 holes and 3 par 5 holes, with a variety of lakes and sand bunkers along the course.
Because of its link with the Tâmega River and mountains Marão and Aboboreira, Amarante offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as camping, swimming, mountaineering, golf, hunting, fishing or adventure sports like rock climbing, canoeing and mountain biking.
Teixeira was born in Amarante on November 8, 1877. He was a representative of the movement called Portuguese Renaissance, famous for both his poetry and prose. His name is also connected with ”Saudosismo”, a movement that promulgated “saudade” as a national spiritual value that could have transformative power. Saudade means “longing, nostalgia, yearning” for something absent, but it is a feeling fraught with more emotional weight and affective intensity than corresponding words from English and other languages convey. The house where Teixeira spent his childhood is located in the centre of Amarante. The working and living place of the adult poet can be found three kilometers from Amarante in Gatão, available for visiting and also to spend a night or two in this unique place surrendered by the Marão mountains.
Priest, Pilgrim, Hermit & Friar, Gonçalo de Amarante is reported to have been solely responsible for the building of the principal bridge in Amarante. A large church, the Igreja de Sâo Gonçalo, lies to the north of this bridge. He was canonized in 1560.