2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: European Geography

Coat of arms Flag
Funchal's coat of arms Funchal's flag
Map of Funchal
Region: Madeira Islands
District: Madeira Island
Population: 100,847
Area: 75.7 km²
Density 1,332/km²
Altitude: Lowest and Centre: Atlantic Ocean
Highest: Pico do Arieiro South Face 1,818 m (northwest)
Number of parishes: 10
Address of the city
Câmara Municipal de Funchal
Paços do Concelho
Funchal 9000
Mayor: Miguel Filipe Machado de Albuquerque
Funchal at night
Funchal at night

Funchal (pronounced [fũˈʃaɫˤ]), population 100,526, is the capital of the Madeira Islands of Portugal. Funchal is also the largest city on the islands and with its neighbouring boroughs has over 150,000 inhabitants. It was founded by João Gonçalves Zarco in 1421 and was elevated to city status by King Manuel I in 1508.

Today Funchal is a modern city, located in a unique area; the natural geological features form an "amphitheatre" surrounding the city, which begins at the harbour and rises almost 1200 metres high on gentle slopes. This provides a natural shelter and was what attracted the first settlers.

Madeira's capital for more than five centuries, Funchal is said to have been named as such because of the abundance of fennel (funcho- in Portuguese) that was growing there.

Part of Funchal Municipality is Ilhas Selvagens ( Savage Islands ), one nature reserve 160 km (100 mi) South of Funchal.

Funchal is bypassed by a superhighway to the north east and southwest which accesses to Santa Cruz, the Madeira airport and Ribeira Brava.

Churches and Parishes

Madeira's Casino, Funchal
Madeira's Casino, Funchal
  • Imaculado Coração de Maria
  • Monte
  • Santa Luzia
  • Santa Maria Maior
  • Santo António
  • São Gonçalo
  • São Martinho
  • São Pedro
  • São Roque

There are 10 Roman Catholic parishes in Funchal region. The most populated is Santo António.

The British cemetery (or "Protestant Cemetery") in Funchal is located by the Holy Trinity Church. It contains the remains of a number of famous people, including Paul Langerhans, the discover of the insulin-producing islets in the pancreas which bear his name.


In the early 1400s, Álvaro Fernandes was the commander of Funchal.

In the 16th century Funchal was important as a stopping place between the Indies and the New World, and was known as a wealthy place. It was also the port for Madeiran sugar and wine.

Funchal hosted the Funchal Island Tournament in 1981 with Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama of the Brazilian League.

Famous people

  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Football Player of Manchester United
  • José Vicente Barbosa ( May 2, 1823 - November 3, 1907) Zoologist
  • Artur de Sousa Pinga, Legendary Portuguese football player
  • Alberto João Jardim, President of the Regional Government of Madeira
  • Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos, former Archbishop of Goa, India
  • Cabral do Nascimento, Poet
  • Pedro Camacho, Composer
  • João Fernandes Vieira, Military
  • Vânia Fernandes, Singer, Portugal's Eurovision Song Contest 2008 Contestant
  • Fátima Lopes, Fashion Designer
  • Mark Athias, Investigator and Reformer
  • Henrique Franco, Painter
  • Victor Costa, Composer
  • Jorge Borges, Jazz Pianist
  • Bruno Santos, Jazz Guitarist
  • Eurico Martins, Famous Badolins Orchestra Conductor and Orchestrator
  • Moises Henriques, Australian Cricketer
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