Amares is a town and municipality in northwestern Portugal, bordered by the municipalities of Barcelos, Braga and Guimarães. The population in 2011 was 36,317, in an area of 151.69 km². The town of Amares arose during the 12th century, when the Templar knights, during their conquest of the region, erected a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Cruz (Our Lady of the Cross). The Templars were succeeded in the area by the Hospitallers, and it was during this time that the village began to grow. The town's coat of arms is derived from that of the Hospitallers, and features a white cross on a red background. Amares is home to a number of interesting sights, chief among them the Church of Nossa Senhora da Cruz, which dates back to the 12th century. The church is noteworthy for its Gothic architecture, as well as for its valuable collection of paintings and azulejos (painted tiles). Other points of interest include the Castle of São Miguel de Refojos, the Amares Ethnographic Museum and the Chapel of São Gonçalo. Amares is an excellent base for exploring the scenic northwestern region of Portugal. The municipality is traversed by the Rio Cávado, and there are numerous hiking and biking trails in the area. The town of Amares is served by a number of bus routes, as well as by a railway station on the Braga-Guimarães line.