Figueira da Foz

Figueira da Foz (Portuguese pronunciation: [fiˈɣɐjɾɐ ðɐ ˈfɔʃ] (About this soundlisten)), also known as Figueira for short, is a city and a municipality in the Coimbra District, in Portugal. Practically at the midpoint of the Iberian Peninsula's Atlantic coast, it is located at the mouth of the Mondego River, 40 km (25 mi) west of Coimbra and sheltered by hills (Serra da Boa Viagem), sharing about the same latitude with Philadelphia, Baku and Beijing. The population of the municipality in 2011 was 62,125,[1] in an area of 379.05 km2 (146.35 sq mi).[2] The city of Figueira da Foz proper has a population of 46,600. It is the second largest city in the district of Coimbra.

Figueira da Foz
Figueira da Foz - Portugal (12303340164) (cropped).jpg
Castelo Eng. Silva (cropped).jpg
Monumento aos Mortos da Grande Guerra - Figueira da Foz - Portugal (2226087554).jpg
The tower of the Palace (cropped).jpg
PalacioSottoMayor 03.JPG
Câmara Municipal Fig.Foz 03.JPG
Flag of Figueira da Foz
Coat of arms of Figueira da Foz
LocalFigueiraDaFoz.svg
Coordinates: 40°09′N 8°51′W / 40.150°N 8.850°W / 40.150; -8.850Coordinates: 40°09′N 8°51′W / 40.150°N 8.850°W / 40.150; -8.850
Country Portugal
RegionCentro
Intermunic. comm.Região de Coimbra
DistrictCoimbra
Parishes14
Government
 • PresidentPedro Santana Lopes (Ind.)
Area
 • Total379.05 km2 (146.35 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total62,125
 • Density160/km2 (420/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Local holiday24 June
Websitehttp://www.cm-figfoz.pt/

It is a coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the Atlantic Ocean coast. As a tourism city, it plays an important part in the centre of the country. A zone of legal gambling, one can find in Figueira one of the biggest casinos of the Iberian Peninsula – the Casino Figueira.

HistoryEdit

According to the legend, the place's name is due to a fig tree, which stood at the quay of Salmanha, where the fishermen used to tie up their boats. Foz means "place of discharge", often used at the point a river meets another body of water, specially where there is a clear energy or water flow clash. Some historical traces show that people were settling in this region since the Neolithic age. The oldest known document, however, dates from the year 1096. In this, an abbot named Pedro donates estates, which belonged to the church of S. Julião, to the cathedral Sé Velha of Coimbra.

Knowing the great importance rivers had in the development of cities and of ancient civilizations, the mouth of the Mondego must have played a central role in the fixation of men in this region and for the formation of settlements, which were the beginning of the city of Figueira da Foz. Figueira da Foz had a huge development during the 18th and 19th centuries due to the immense port movements and the expansion of the shipbuilding and cod drying industry,[3] supplying the city with new communication routes, housing and other facilities. It was elevated to vila (small town) on 12 March 1771 and turned city (cidade) on 20 September 1882. Discovered as a sea resort by the end of the 19th century, it gained a great reputation in the 1920s and 1930s. The city had the Portuguese nickname of Rainha das Praias (Queen of the Beaches).

The municipality has some noted landmarks like the Sotto Mayor Palace, the old fishing village of Buarcos, the Serra da Boa Viagem – a small forested mountain by the Atlantic Ocean, several beaches, and its large seaside promenade paved with typical Portuguese pavement. Figueira da Foz has several Churches, many of them in the rich Baroque style, a Municipal Museum with the archaeological, ethnographic and artistic collection, the Santa Catarina Fort and the old Buarcos Fortress, the Relógio Tower by the main sandy beach, several archaeological vestiges throughout the municipality, several Palaces and Manor Houses (like the Sotto Mayor Palace), as well as several green spaces and small gardens like those in the area of Abadias.

EconomyEdit

The city is an important industrial centre, producing wood pulp and paper (Navigator, formerly and still commonly known as Soporcel, and Celbi, part of Altri) and glass (Verallia, part of Saint-Gobain). It also has notable naval construction and fish industries. Until the turn of the 21st century, a factory of the CIMPOR Group was installed in the Mondego Cape (Cabo Mondego). The seaport and the fishing harbour are also important for its economy.

With its old and renowned casino (Casino da Figueira), the marina, several hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, Figueira is actually a very important Atlantic beach resort, in the center of Portugal's Silver Coast/Costa de Prata tourism region. A generally windy coastal area, its relatively cold seawaters are particularly renowned as a surf and kitesurf hotspot in the same fashion as other places throughout the west coast of Portugal, such as Nazaré, Peniche or Ericeira. In July and August, its main beaches are usually packed with beachgoers too.

EducationEdit

The city has well-equipped kindergartens, schools and high schools. It had two private universities: the Catholic University of Portugal (Figueira da Foz branch) and the Internacional University[4] (Figueira da Foz branch) but they were closed in 2009 due to lack of funds and academic integrity. The municipality of Figueira da Foz is served by the ancient University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra located 40 kilometers to the east of the city, in the district capital Coimbra.

ParishesEdit

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 14 civil parishes (freguesias):[5]

DemographicsEdit

Population of Figueira da Foz Municipality (1801–2011)
1801 1849 1900 1930 1960 1981 1991 2001 2008 2011
10 281 8 021 43 032 49 590 57 631 58 559 61 555 62 601 63 135 62 125

GeographyEdit

Figueira is about 40 kilometers west of Coimbra by the Atlantic Ocean and less than 200 kilometers to the north of Lisbon, on the mouth of the Mondego River and at the foothills of the Serra da Boa Viagem (mountain). The Cabo Mondego (cape) is inserted in the context of the Lusitanian Basin and is located on the western edge of the Serra da Boa Viagem (latitude 40º 11´ 3´´ N, longitude 08º 54´34´´W), approximately 6 km to the northwest of the city of Figueira da Foz proper. Classified as a Natural Monument since 2007, the cape is one of the most important testimonies for understanding the geological history of Portugal; represents, in a particularly complete way, some of the most important episodes in the history of the Earth that occurred during the Jurassic, for a time interval that is, approximately, between 185 and 140 million years, which justifies, at international level, the relevance of its classification, conservation and dissemination. The outcrop comprises a series of marine and fluvial-lake sediments that extend from the Upper Toarciano to the Titonian. This record, on some levels, is particularly continuous and rich in paleontological, sedimentological and paleomagnetic information, which are associated with exceptional observation conditions. It includes levels with the oldest footprints of megalosaurs (bipedal and carnivorous dinosaurs) described in Portugal and whose first reference dates from 1884.

ClimateEdit

Figueira da Foz has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csb) characterized by mild, rainy winters and dry, warm summers. The annual average temperature is around 15 °C (59 °F) and the annual average rainfall is about 600 mm (24 in). The sea surface temperature varies from 14–15 °C (57–59 °F) in January and February to 18–19 °C (64–66 °F) in the August and September. In the summer afternoons moderate to (occasionally) strong north-westerly winds are common. Subtropical Storm Alpha, notable for being the only tropical or subtropical cyclone to make landfall in Portugal on record, made landfall at peak intensity in the general vicinity of the city on 18 September 2020.[6] Figueira da Foz was, however, particularly hit hard when Storm (Hurricane) Leslie made landfall in mainland Europe right within the city on 13 October 2018.[7]

Climate data for Figueira da Foz
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.0
(71.6)
24.0
(75.2)
26.5
(79.7)
30.0
(86.0)
32.6
(90.7)
37.0
(98.6)
39.5
(103.1)
36.4
(97.5)
33.0
(91.4)
36.0
(96.8)
29.2
(84.6)
23.2
(73.8)
39.5
(103.1)
Average high °C (°F) 14.0
(57.2)
15.0
(59.0)
17.1
(62.8)
18.8
(65.8)
19.9
(67.8)
22.7
(72.9)
23.9
(75.0)
24.6
(76.3)
23.4
(74.1)
21.2
(70.2)
17.2
(63.0)
14.5
(58.1)
19.4
(66.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.4
(50.7)
11.2
(52.2)
13.2
(55.8)
14.7
(58.5)
16.0
(60.8)
18.5
(65.3)
19.6
(67.3)
20.1
(68.2)
19.2
(66.6)
17.1
(62.8)
13.6
(56.5)
11.1
(52.0)
15.4
(59.7)
Average low °C (°F) 6.9
(44.4)
7.4
(45.3)
9.3
(48.7)
10.6
(51.1)
12.2
(54.0)
14.4
(57.9)
15.4
(59.7)
15.7
(60.3)
15.1
(59.2)
13.1
(55.6)
10.0
(50.0)
7.7
(45.9)
11.5
(52.7)
Record low °C (°F) −0.1
(31.8)
−3.0
(26.6)
0.4
(32.7)
0.8
(33.4)
7.0
(44.6)
10.2
(50.4)
7.0
(44.6)
5.0
(41.0)
4.0
(39.2)
2.0
(35.6)
2.0
(35.6)
0.0
(32.0)
−3.0
(26.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 96.4
(3.80)
79.9
(3.15)
46.3
(1.82)
63.8
(2.51)
50.2
(1.98)
19.3
(0.76)
8.3
(0.33)
17.6
(0.69)
40.3
(1.59)
106.7
(4.20)
109.4
(4.31)
86.5
(3.41)
724.7
(28.55)
Average precipitation days 12 11 8 11 7 7 3 1 4 8 10 11 83
Source 1: climatedata.org,[8] Portuguese Environmental Agency (precipitation 1985-2021)[9]
Source 2: INMG, 1931-1960 Climatology (extremes & precipitation days)[10]
Climate data for Barra do Mondego, 1954-1980
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.0
(69.8)
22.7
(72.9)
27.0
(80.6)
29.1
(84.4)
33.0
(91.4)
38.5
(101.3)
38.6
(101.5)
38.5
(101.3)
36.0
(96.8)
33.2
(91.8)
27.5
(81.5)
21.6
(70.9)
38.6
(101.5)
Average high °C (°F) 13.9
(57.0)
14.6
(58.3)
15.9
(60.6)
17.5
(63.5)
19.3
(66.7)
21.3
(70.3)
23.0
(73.4)
23.0
(73.4)
22.2
(72.0)
20.8
(69.4)
16.8
(62.2)
14.4
(57.9)
18.6
(65.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.8
(51.4)
10.9
(51.6)
12.3
(54.1)
13.8
(56.8)
15.6
(60.1)
17.7
(63.9)
18.8
(65.8)
19.0
(66.2)
18.3
(64.9)
16.6
(61.9)
12.8
(55.0)
10.4
(50.7)
14.8
(58.5)
Average low °C (°F) 7.8
(46.0)
7.2
(45.0)
8.7
(47.7)
10.1
(50.2)
12.0
(53.6)
14.1
(57.4)
14.5
(58.1)
14.9
(58.8)
14.4
(57.9)
12.3
(54.1)
8.9
(48.0)
6.4
(43.5)
10.9
(51.7)
Record low °C (°F) −2.0
(28.4)
−1.7
(28.9)
0.0
(32.0)
2.5
(36.5)
0.6
(33.1)
6.2
(43.2)
6.0
(42.8)
9.5
(49.1)
7.0
(44.6)
2.0
(35.6)
0.8
(33.4)
−2.5
(27.5)
−2.5
(27.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 115
(4.5)
102
(4.0)
79
(3.1)
56
(2.2)
53
(2.1)
23
(0.9)
5
(0.2)
10
(0.4)
31
(1.2)
79
(3.1)
89
(3.5)
83
(3.3)
725
(28.5)
Average precipitation days 16 18 15 10 9 6 2 3 6 11 13 13 122
Mean monthly sunshine hours 121 140 160 217 265 262 295 272 202 188 137 134 2,393
Source: IPMA[11]

Beaches of Figueira da FozEdit

 
Buarcos Beach before a storm
  • Praia da Figueira da Foz – Relógio – Praia da Bola de Nivea (Europe's widest urban beach)
  • Praia da Gala – Figueira da Foz (Cova Gala)
  • Praia da Murtinheira – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia do Cabo Mondego – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Leirosa – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Costa de Lavos – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Orbitur – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia da Cova – Cova Gala (Figueira da Foz)
  • Praia do Cabedelo – Figueira da Foz (Cova Gala)
  • Praia da Claridade – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia de Buarcos – Tamargueira (Figueira da Foz) e Plataforma (Figueira da Foz)
  • Praia do Vale do Emide – Figueira da Foz
  • Praia de Quiaios – Figueira da Foz (Quiaios)

GalleryEdit

SportsEdit

Figueira da Foz is home to Associação Naval 1º Maio, best known for its football team which spent six seasons between 2005 and 2011 in the national top tier, the Primeira Liga. The city is also the home of the basketball department of Ginásio Clube Figueirense which competes in the Portuguese basketball league, adding rowing and swimming to their more notorious activities.[12]

The Tennis Club da Figueira da Foz was founded in 1917 and is still located next to the Santa Catarina Fort at the mouth of the Mondego River today.

The city hosted the Mundialto international beachsoccer tournament from 1997 to 2004.

International surf competitions frequently take place in Figueira like the World Surf Championship 2010[13] or the IFCA Slaloms Worlds 2008[14]

TransportEdit

RoadEdit

Figueira da Foz is accessed by motorways A14, linking it to Coimbra and A1, and A17, linking it to Aveiro and A25 (reaching Spain) to the north and Leiria and A8 to the south. As an alternative to tolled motorways, it is served by routes EN109 [pt], linking Leiria to Gaia (near Porto), and EN111 [pt], linking Figueira da Foz to Coimbra and IC2 [pt], the toll-free alternative to A1. There are intercity bus services to Lisbon, Porto, Leiria, Aveiro and Viseu. There are also regional bus services to Coimbra and places in between.

RailEdit

The city is served by its own railway terminus, Figueira da Foz railway station [pt], with suburban trains linking it to Coimbra and some regional trains running along the Western Line, although there is no direct railway service to Lisbon or Porto. The closest station to be served by intercity railway services is Alfarelos [pt], at the Northern Line, 18 km to the east. Coimbra-B [pt], 36 km to the east, is the closest station serving high-speed Alfa Pendular trains. Both have scheduled links to Lisbon, Porto and other major cities across Portugal. Pombal [pt], slightly closer at 32 km to the southeast, also serves Alfa Pendular trains, but there is no direct railway link between the two cities.

WaterEdit

Figueira da Foz has its own seaport, Port of Figueira da Foz [pt] along river Mondego, featuring a marina, a container terminal and naval shipyards. In addition, there are facilities for watersports, in particular rowing.

AirEdit

The city does not have its own airport. The closest international airport to Figueira da Foz is Porto Airport (OPO), located 120 km to the north and offering several international destinations primarily in Europe, although Lisbon Airport (LIS), located 155 km to the south, offers more intercontinental destinations, in particular to North America, South America and Africa. The closest aerodrome handling private flights is Bissaya Barreto Aerodrome (CBP) in Coimbra, 32 km to the east, where the Aeroclube da Figueira da Foz is based. The closest runway capable of handling widebody aircraft is at Monte Real Air Base in Leiria, some 40 km to the south, but it is home to the Portuguese Air Force's jet fighter aircraft, making it difficult to convert the airbase to commercial aviation due to its strategic position in Portugal's defence system.

An international airport in Figueira da Foz, the Silver Coast International Airport, was planned in the early 1990s, which was to be located in Lavos, 7 km south of the city centre—it has never been built.[15][16]

International RelationsEdit

Figueira da Foz is twinned[17] with:

Notable peopleEdit

 
Joao Cesar Monteiro, 1989
 
José Bento Pessoa, 1895

SportEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Statistics Portugal". Instituto Nacional de Estatística.
  2. ^ "Áreas das freguesias, concelhos, distritos e país". Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ SILVA, A. J. M. (2015), The fable of the cod and the promised sea. About Portuguese traditions of bacalhau, in BARATA, F. T- and ROCHA, J. M. (eds.), Heritages and Memories from the Sea, Proceedings of the 1st International Conference of the UNESCO Chair in Intangible Heritage and Traditional Know-How: Linking Heritage, 14–16 January 2015. University of Evora, Évora, pp. 130-143. PDF version
  4. ^ Grand Union of Portugal. "Portal do Governo de Portugal: MCTES Universidade Internacional". www.portugal.gov.pt.
  5. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 49-50" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Subtropical Storm ALPHA". www.nhc.noaa.gov. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  7. ^ "STING JET ASSOCIADO AO LESLIE". www.ipma.pt (in Portuguese). 14 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Figueira da Foz Climate". climate-data.org. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Casal do Rato (13D/04UG)". snirh.apambiente.pt. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  10. ^ INMG (1970). Anuário Climatológico de Portugal, Fasc. XIII. Normais Climatológicas do Continente, Açores e Madeira correspondentes a 1931-1960 (2a ed.).
  11. ^ Font Tullot, Inocencio (2000). Climatología de España y Portugal (Nueva versión ed.). [Salamanca]: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca. p. 338. ISBN 9788478009442.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Latest News".
  14. ^ "DWSV Regatta Calendar (www.dwsv.net)". www.regattakalender.org.
  15. ^ "Marcha do Vapor: PRINCIPIOS DA DECADA DE 90". 2017.
  16. ^ "Atelier da Cidade".
  17. ^ "Cidades geminadas com a Figueira da Foz". Associação Nacional de Munícipios Portugueses. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  18. ^ João César Monteiro, IMDb Database retrieved 29 July 2021.
  19. ^ João Mário Grilo, IMDb Database retrieved 29 July 2021.
  20. ^ Rita Camarneiro, IMDb Database retrieved 29 July 2021.

External linksEdit