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Viseu

viseuViseu is a city and municipality in the Centro Region of Portugal and the capital of the Viseu District. With a municipal population of 99,274, Viseu is the center of the Viseu Dao Lafoes intermunipical community, with 267,633 inhabitants.

With origins in early Iberian castro culture, Viseu’s history spans millennia. During the Roman occupation of Iberia, Viriathus, rebel leader of the Lusitanians, is said to have lived in what is today Viseu. During the Middle Ages, the city often served as the court for various Visigothic nobles, such as King Roderic, and is considered as the probable birthplace of Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal. The city is remembered as the birthplace of Vasco Fernandes, one of the great painters of the Portuguese Renaissance.

Today, Viseu is a regional economic hub with a strong wine industry and as the seat of international conglomerate Visabeira. Similarly, the city is a center for culture, as the home of the nationally acclaimed Grão Vasco Museum and as seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Viseu. Viseu serves a regional education core, with campuses from various national universities represented, such as the Catholic University of Portugal.
Viseu is approximately 50 km (31 mi) East of the Atlantic ocean. Surrounded by a number of mountains – Leomil, Montemuro, Lapa, Arada, Estrela and Caramulo – the tops of which are covered with thick layers of snow in Winter time, the district is crossed by a network of rivers and streamlets.

The city of Viseu has an almost central position in relation to the District lying on the so-called Viseu Plateau (Port. Planalto de Viseu). It is surrounded by a mountainous system constituted to the north by the Leonil, Montemuro, and Lapa hills, to the northeast by the Arado hills, to the south and southeast by the Serra da Estrela and the Lousã hills and to the west by the Caramulo hills.

The Municipality is characterized by an irregular surface with altitudes ranging between 400 and 700 metres. With a rough terrain, it has numerous water courses. These are found in three basins: the Vouga, the Dão and the Paiva.

Situated in a zone of transition, the concelho has several micro-climates. The Serra do Caramulo, located to the west of the city, plays an important role in climatic terms by lessening the influences of the western air masses (although the Mondego River’s basin makes the penetration easier). Consequently, Viseu’s climate is characterized by the existence of high temperature extremes, with cold and wet winters and hot and dry summers.

Information courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viseu