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Minho river

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Minho river

Rio Minho redirects here. For the river of that name in Jamaica, see Rio Minho (Jamaica)
Miño (Spanish)(Galician)
Minho (Portuguese)
Name origin: Minius (Latin)
Countries Spain, Portugal
City Lugo, Ourense, Viana do Castelo
Source Pedregal de Irimia
 - location Serra de Meira, Lugo, Galicia, Spain
 - elevation 695 m (2,280 ft)
 - coordinates 12|41|N|7|16|52|W|type:river_region:ES name=


Source confluence Peares
 - location Ourense, Galicia, Spain
 - coordinates 27|14|N|7|43|48|W|type:river_region:ES name=


Mouth Miño Estuary
 - location Atlantic Ocean, Spain & Portugal
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 52|0|N|8|52|12|W|type:river_region:ES name=


Length 350 km (217 mi)
 - average 340 m3/s (12,007 cu ft/s)
Reservoirs Belesar, Peares, Velle, Castrelo and Frieira
Map showing the location of the Minho

Minho (Portuguese: [ˈmiɲu]) or Miño (Spanish: [ˈmiɲo], Galician: [ˈmiɲo]) is the longest river in Galicia, Spain, with an extension of 340 km.

The name comes from Latin Minius, meaning cinnibar, lead, or vermillion, essentially, "the red river." The Minno waters vineyards and farmland, is used to produce hydroelectric power, and also delineates a section of the Spanish/Portuguese border. In ancient English maps appears as Minno.

The source of the Minho lies about 50 km north of Lugo in Galicia, in a place called Pedregal of Irimia. The river passes just south of the walls of this old Roman city and flows south through canyons until the valley widens north of Ourense. The river has been harnessed in reservoirs from Portomarín to Frieira. In its length it has the following reservoirs: Belesar with 654 hm³, Peares with 182 hm³, Velle with 17 hm³, Castrelo with 60 hm³ and Frieira with 44 hm³.

Twenty kilometers north of Ourense at Os Peares the Minho receives the waters of its main tributary, the Sil. Passing Ourense, the river flows in a southwest direction until reaching the Portuguese border near Melgaço. There is one major dam at Frieira near the town of Ribadavia, which is famous for its Ribeiro wine (called after the name of the region).

The Portuguese Minho divides the two countries for about 80 km. The valley is a lush, green agricultural area where every square metre of land is used to produce corn, potatoes, cabbage, or just grass, depending on the time of year, and everywhere edging the fields, rivers and gardens, wherever there is space, the vines which produce the light, slightly sparkling “Vinho Verde” peculiar to this area. The very best of these, Alvarinho, is produced in the area around Monção and Melgaço.

Passing the medieval towns of Melgaço and Monção the Minho divides the Spanish Tui and Portuguese Valença do Minho, towns that guarded an important crossing for road and rail. Both towns preserve fortifications and are national monuments. The Minho reaches the Atlantic near Caminha.


The river begins in the Pedregal de Irimia of the Sierra de Meira, about 695 m above sea level, in the municipality of Meira, northeast of the province of Lugo, where it flows underground to surface in the lagoon Fonmiña (in the municipality of A Pastoriza). This lagoon is located in the same province, is historically considered as its birthplace. The Minho flows through the Galician massif and Cantabrian Mountain range and the mountains of Leon, two of the rainiest areas of the Iberian Peninsula, being one of the main rivers of the Atlantic slope.

All its upper course has been declared a Biosphere Reserve. The Minho River runs its first forty miles across the plateau of Lugo (Terrachá), a peneplain whose altitude ranges from four hundred fifty to six hundred fifty meters above the sea level.

Its main tributaries are the Sil, Neira, Avia, Barbantiño, Búbal, Arnoya rivers.

Legends, traditions and superstitions

The story tells the oral tradition of Galician mythological characters that were living in the basin of the Rio Minho, such as feiticeiras (witches) who lived in the same river, the Xarcos who dwelt in wells located throughout the watershed and fish-men who were amphibious with the possibility of live both on land and in water.[1]



  • Pontevedra
    • Río Tamuxe (also called Carballas, Carballo or Carvallo)
    • Río Pego
    • Río Cereixo da Brinha
    • Río Furnia (also called Forcadela)
    • Río Louro
    • Río Caselas
    • Río Tea
    • Río Deva (there is another Deva River on the left bank)
    • Río Ribadil
    • Río Cea
  • Ourense
  • Lugo
    • Río Asma
    • Río Narón
    • Río Ferreira
    • Río Mera
    • Río Narla
    • Río Ladra
    • Río Támoga
    • Río Anllo


  • Portugal
    • Rio Mouro
    • Rio Gadanha
    • Rio Coura
  • Ourense
    • Río Deva
    • Río Arnoia
    • Río Barbaña
    • Río Lonia
    • Sil River
    • Río Sardiñeira
    • Río Loio
    • Río Neira
    • Río Chamoso
    • Río Robra (also called río Santa Marta)
    • Río Lea
    • Río Azúmar

See also


External links

  • El Rio Miño y ciudad de Tui
  • The Minho River Wine Tour
  • Minho River border
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