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Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ˈnɔvɐ dɨ ˈɡajɐ]) is a city in Vila Nova de Gaia Municipality, Portugal. It is located in the Porto District, south of the city of Porto on the other side of the Douro River. The city proper has a population of 178,255[1] and the municipality contains 24 parishes with a total population of 288,749 inhabitants, and is the most populous municipality in Norte Region. Gaia together with Porto and other 12 municipalities makes up the commonly designated Porto Metropolitan Area.

It is also well known for its "lodges" (locally known as "caves") where the world famous Port wine is stored and aged. The lodges have become a major tourist attraction.

Contents

Coat of Arms and Flag

The coat of arms consists of a grey crest with two golden-yellow bunches of grapes on the bottom with a black castle over the water, and with a person blowing the horn.

The flag is colored dark yellow to black in four each.

History of the municipality

Vila Nova de Gaia already existed under the Roman Empire as the city of Cale. It developed most likely from a preexistent Celtic Castro, or Neolithic settlement. The origin of the name Cale (or Gale, since in Classical Latin there was not always a clear distinction between the letters "g" and "c") is likely Celtic, from the root "Gall-" with which Celts referred to themselves, similarly to Galicia, Gaul or Galway. The river itself has a presumably Celtic name, Douro (Durus in Latin) maybe after Celtic "dwr", water. In Roman times the bulk of the population probably lived south of the river Douro, and on the north side, there was a smaller settlement around the deep water port which now is the Ribeira neighbourhood of Porto. The name of Porto, in high medieval times Portus Cale, thus stood for the harbour ("portus" in Latin) of the city of Cale. With the important trade of the river Douro, which is easily navigable up to the Régua deep inland, the Porto part of the city came to overgrow Cale, and became the most important part of town, where the Bishopric and the merchants were established.

With the moorish invasions in the eighth century A.D., the de facto frontier between the Islamic state and the Christian one came to rest for a considerable period of time on the river Douro, around the year 1000. With the constant raids and counter-raids, the town of Cale, or Gaia, was deserted and most of its inhabitants took refuge in Porto.

After the conquest and pacification of the southern side of the Douro river after 1035, with the exodus or expulsion of the Muslim populations, leaving behind semi-abandoned fertile lands, colonists from the north settled in exchange for better feudal contracts with the newly appointed lords. These migrants refounded the old city of Cale or Gaia under the name of Vila Nova de Gaia (new town of Gaia) around the old castle and ruins of "old Gaia".

The name of the double city of Oporto and Gaia was frequently referred to in contemporary documents as "villa de Portucale", and the county of the Kingdom of León which was centered around it was named Condado Portucalense. This county was eventually expanded and after gaining its independence, became the Kingdom of Portugal.

In 30 June 1989, Pedroso became a village.

On 12 July 2004, Crestuma, Lever, Olival, Perosinho, Sandim, São Félix da Marinha and Serzedo became villages too.

Apartment buildings in the parish of Mafamude

Leisure

Vila Nova de Gaia is the Portuguese municipality with the biggest number of Blue Flag beaches in 2009: 17 beaches along 17 km of seaside.

Gallery

View of Gaia from Porto
Another view of Gaia

Some popular seaside beaches:Miramar,Granja,Aguda, Valadares,Francelos,Madalena and Canidelo,Gaia.

References

  1. ^ UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Iberia : Portugal : Northern Portugal : Vila Nova de Gaia
Contents

Vila Nova de Gaia is a city in Oporto (Porto) district of Northern Portugal. It is home of cellars of port wine, several shopping centers and some of the best beaches.

See

Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Gaia are the Port Wine Cellars, warehouses where the famous Port wine is stored. The Cellars are placed in Ribeira de Gaia, an area of the city located in the bank of River Douro opposite [Porto]. Ribeira de Gaia has also some typical and international restaurants, particularly in Cais de Gaia. Even if you are not in visiting the cellars, you should visit Ribeira the Gaia in order to get some amazing views of [Porto].

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