Make the most of your time in Viana do Castelo

Square Republic Fountain (16th century)

It was built or, at least, completed in 1559, and the work was from the master João Lopes "the old", the same one that some years before had constructed the Caminha fountains and, probably, some of the similar fountains that we can find in Galician cities like Pontevedra. It was, during several centuries, the supply point of drinking water of the population from Viana do Castelo and, thanks to its monumentality and location, one of the urban references of the town.

Costume Museum (20th century)

Located in the historic center of the city, the building of the former Portugal Bank houses, since 2004, the Costume Museum, wich presents the ethnographic richness of the traditional costumes from Viana do Castelo. The exposed assets also comprises the tools used in the handmade clothing of garments. Besides de permanent exhibition "The wool and the linen in the Alto Minho costume", the Costume Museum conducts several temporary exhibitions, using the costumes and ethnography from Viana do Castelo as themes.

Mother Church (15th century)

The Cathedral of Viana, despite its massive structure characteristic of the Romanic architecture, is, undoubtedly, a work influenced by the Gothic aesthetic, and its construction started in the beggining of the 15th century. The portal presents a lancet arch indented by three archivolts profusely decorated, which are supported by six sculptures that represent the same number of apostles (Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John, Saint Bartholomew, Saint James and Saint Andrew). This portal denotes, both structurally and thematic, certain affinities with the Galician portals, like the ones from the San Martin de Noya Church.

Almas Chapel (13th/18th centuries)

It was the first Mother Church of Viana do Castelo, until the construction of the current Cathedral inside the walled perimeter in the mid-15th century. Traditionally known as Old Mother Church, it was renamed as Almas Chapel because its churchyard was used as a tomb since the reign of the King Afonso III I until the late 19th century. From the original structure of 13th century, which was rebuilt and enlarged in 1719, by the canon Domingos de Campos Soares, remains an arcosolium on the south wall of the temple and the cross of the headboard, being the remainder a typical building of the small temples of 18th century Baroque.

Abreu Távora House ("from the Counts Carreira") (16th century)

Built in the mid-16th century, the Palace of Abreu Távora, later renamed as "from the Counts Carreira", is one of the most beautiful manor-houses of the city, where the Manueline windows and doors prevails, to which the posterior changes and additions came to, more than preserve, highlight and valorize. In this building works, since 1972, the City Council of Viana do Castelo.

Melo Alvim House (16th century)

Built in the beggining of 16th century, it is considered the oldest manor of the city. It still displays Manueline windows and battlements, with some addings from the end of 16th century. In the inside, elements of the 16th and 17th centuries are visible, as the monumental stairs of granite. It was restaured in the 90's for the instalation of a Hostel.

Santa Luzia Cathedral (20th century)

The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, built in the western spur of the Santa Luzia mountain, where comands and "blesses" the city of Viana do Castelo is, undoubtedly, one of the best known and emblematic monuments of the country. It is an excelent example of revivalist architecture, congregating neo-Romanesque, neo-Byzantine and neo-Gothic elements in a monumental but harmonious way, authored by one of the largest national and international projection architects of Minho in that time, Miguel Ventura Terra (1866-1919), author, for example, of the remodeling of S. Bento Palace, the current Parliament. Although the project date back to 1898, the work was only started in the first years of the 20th century, with the opening of the Temple for worship in August 22, 1926, already after the death of its author, and the work was only concluded in 1943, almost half a decade later.

Areosa Fortress (17th/18th centuries)

This interesting model of the military architecture of 17th century was built to sustain possible Spanish attacks during the Restoration wars (1640-1668). It was part of a defensive line strategically placed in the margins of Minho river and along the Atlantic coast, achieved through the remodelation of the old fortifications, as the Valença, Vila Nova de Cerveira and Santiago da Barra castles (Viana do Castelo), or the construction of new fortifications, like those from Lobelhe (Vila Nova de Cerveira), Ínsua (Caminha) and Paço (Carreço), among others. Some of these fortresses had an important role, not only in the Restoration war, but also during the napoleonic invasions, with some reactivations of its military and strategic functions in the liberal fights of 19th century.

Town Library (21st century)

The new Town Library of Viana do Castelo, authored by the architect Siza Vieira, is located between the Lima river and the historic center of the city. The building occupies a total area of 3.130 m2 and develops in two floors, lying in the ground floor the technical services, work offices and for consultation of reserved, deposit area, multipurpose room, bar, service desk, storage room and sanitary facilites. The upper floor possesses a large reading room and a children's section, work and multimedia rooms, more restricted areas for reading and workshops of artistic expression. This floor has, also, a reception atrium, service desk and reprographic service. The natural light floods the several spaces, especially the reading ones.

Old Town Hall (16th century)

After the occupation of the old place of reunion of the county by the Santa Maria Maior Church (now Cathedral), it was built this Town Hall out of doors in the beggining of 16th century. It is, as so many other similar constructions of the Hispanic northeast, a pavemented building, having in the noble floor the "Chamber" where the town council met and in the ground floor an arcade for sheltering the people and the scribes who drew up here, for the illiterate, requirements and other documents addressed to the Chamber.

Old Hospital (15th/17th centuries)

Old hostel for the reception of pilgrims from Santiago, founded by João Paes "the old" in 1468 and restored in the 16th century. The front is the result of the reconstruction in the 16th century, being visible the Manueline windows and the inscription, transcribed from the original (since the Arabic numerals were not even used in 1468), but the stone arms and the niche above the door are from the 17th century. The interior yard is also from the 16th century, which is accessed through three very large and depressed arches of beveled edge.

Costa Barros House (16th century)

Manor-house of the Discovery period, where the monumental central window of Renaissance inspiration with "Manueline" and "Plateresc" decorative motives is highlighted. Built in the mid-16th century, it is, undoubtedly, the most beautiful and majestic window of the 16th century of the city.

Eiffel Bridge (19th century)

Open in June 30, 1878, at the height of the iron architecture, under the design and calculations of the prestigious Eiffel House, the metalic bridge over the Lima river came not only to allow the rail traffic, but also replace the old wooden bridge that connected the São Bento yard in Viana do Castelo to the left margin of the Lima river (Darque). With 563 meters of length and 6 meters of width, it were necessary more than 2.000.000 kilogram of iron to the construction of the decks based in nine pillars in stonework of granite, whose foundations reach to 22 meters.

Charity Church / Sant'Ana Monastery (16th/20th centuries)

It is the church of the old Santa Ana Monastery, of Benedictine nuns, whose construction was ordered by the local nobility with the support of the House, to shelter the daughters of the nobles from Viana do Castelo that eventually may not marry. The original monastery, of Gothic root, was a work of Pero Galego, resident in Caminha, whom in the beggining of the 16th century directed the second phase of the works in the Mother Church. After some enlargement works performed in the beggining of the 18th century, it was between 1897 and 1905 that the main reformulation works of the monastery were executed, resulting in a grandiose architectural ensemble that preserved the "Baroque Johannine" style of the church frontispiece and that reused the magnificient Manueline spire in the tower.

Town Museum / Barbosa Maciel Mansion (18th century)

Installed in a distinct manor of the 18th century, the Town Museum of Viana do Castelo possesses one of the most important and valuable collections of the former Portuguese faience of the 17th to 19th centuries, which includes several pieces of the famous Ware Factory of Viana do Castelo. Beyond an important collection of paintings, drawings and pieces of sacred art, there is a beautiful collection of Indo-Portuguese furniture of the 18th century. In this space is also possible to discover assets of Portuguese and Hispano-Arabic tiles, unique on its variety and richness.

Senhora da Agonia Church (18th century)

The current building of the Nossa Senhora da Agonia Church dates from the mid-18th century and it is the result of the reconstruction of an old terminal chapel of a Via Crucis. In this model of final Baroque, where it is possible to find some influences of the Luso-Brazilian Baroque, the altarpieces decorated with "fat carving" are highlighted, with special attention to the cenotaph of the Passion designed by André Soares. The tower, which is dated of 1868, was built displaced from the body of the building, to not block the traditional circuit of the pilgrimage in turn of the Church.

Citânia of Santa Luzia (Romanized Hill Fort Village)

The Citânia of Santa Luzia, locally known as "Old City", is one of the Hill Fort best known in the North of Portugal and, undoubtedly, one of the most important to the study of the Proto-History and the Romanization of Alto Minho. Its strategic location allowed it not only to dominate huge areas of coastal riverside zone, but also, and especially, to control the movement of entries and exits in the Lima river mouth, which in the classical antiquity would be navigable in most of its course. The Village presents very specific features, specially in terms of architectural structures, with highlights to the polygonal unit, used in some of the houses, which have a circular plan with a vestibule or atrium, that in some cases sheltered ovens to bake bread.

Misericórdia Building and Church (16th century)

Created in 1520, the Misericórdia fraternity of Viana do Castelo was so developed that, in the beggining of the second quarter of the 16th century, the table decided to construct the so-called "House of Balconies". This building, dated from 1589, is an unique model of the Renaissance and Manneirist inspirational architecture, with Italian and Flemish influences. In 1716 began the remodelation works of the church, handed to the Viannese military enginner Manuel Pinto de Vilalobos. It presents inside a huge decorative richness, as it was the style of this period, either by carving in national style, authored by Ambrósio Coelho, or by the beautiful lining in tile, painted by Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes, or even by the ceiling frescoes authored by Manuel Gomes. It is, undoubtedly, one of the best Baroque models of all country.

Niches House (15th century)

Located roughly half way down the Viana Street, the old Cais Street, can be admired the so-called "Niches House", that although it has undergone major renovations, mainly in the doors and windows, it still presents two beautiful Gothic sculptures, topped by dosseletes representing the Anunciation scene.

Viana Statue (18th century)

Mandada construir em 1774 pelo Conde da Bobadela, José António Freire de Andrade, Governador de Armas da província do Minho, é, paralelamente ao Templo-Monumento de Santa Luzia, um dos ex-libris da cidade. A figura feminina de vestes ondulantes segurando uma caravela, em estilo Rococó, que domina todo o conjunto, simboliza Viana e a sua vocação marinheira. Os quatro bustos que rematam as esquinas do pedestal simbolizam os continentes Europeu, Asiático, Africano e Americano, como alusão aos "quatro cantos do Mundo" e à tradição mareante e mercantil dos Vianenses.

Malheiras Chapel (18th century)

The so-called Malheiras Chapel (by reference to the owning family - the Malheiro Reimão), is one of the most beautiful models of Portuguese Rococo architecture, built under the orders of D. António do Desterro (Malheiro), Rio de Janeiro Bishop in that time. Beyond the elegant front, work of Nicolau Nasoni or its school for some authors, this Chapel presents a notabel altarpiece in polychromed carving, being, according to Robert Smith, one of the best models of carving in Minho with Rococo style.

Sá de Miranda Town Theater (19th century)

"Italian" theater from the end of 19th century, according to the plan of the architect João Marques Sardinha. It is an austere building, with some neo-Classic elements, where the vaulted ceiling with a beautiful frescoe painting authored by João Baptista Rio is highlighted. It still possesses the original curtain, idealized by the Italian set designer Manini and executed by Hercole Lambertini. This theater, recently restored, is, undoubtedly, the main cultural space of the city.

São Domingos Church (16th century)

The São Domingos Church, that remains from the old Santa Cruz monastery, was founded by the Dominican friar Bartholomew of the Martyrs, the Holy Archbishop, recently beatified by the Pope John Paul II, famous by his participation in The Council of Trent, is a temple from the 16th century, constructed between 1566 and 1576, under the purview of the Dominican friar Julião Romero, the same one that designed the São Gonçalo de Amarante Church. In the inside could be admired several altars with beautiful golden carving, especially the magnificient altarpiece from the north arm of transept, in "fat carving", carved by the master José Alvares de Araújo from Braga, from the drawing ordered by the Rosário fraternity, in 1760, to the master André Soares, and this received from the prestigious specialist Robert Smith the classification of "Rocaille style masterpiece of all Europe".

São Tiago da Barra Fortress or Castle (15th/17th centuries)

It is thought that this date from the reign of King Afonso III, being the first fortification placed on the bar of Lima river mouth, although the oldest secure date is from the 15th century, when it was constructed there a fortress, that was concluded during the reign of King Manuel I, as it is sugested by some Manueline architectural elements, as the so-called "Roqueta Tower", placed in the southeast bastion of the current fortress. In the end of the 16th century, the fortress was the target of many works of improvement, being already under the Spanish command, during the reign of Filipe II (Filipe I of Portugal), that was constructed the current fortress of polygonal plan, from a project authored by Filippo de Terzi, the most famous military buildings designer of that time.

Gil Eannes Hospital-Ship

The Gil Eannes Hospital-Ship, built in Viana do Castelo in 1955, supported, for decades, the Portuguese cod fishing fleet that operated in the Terra Nova and Greenland sandbanks. The conversion project turned it into a Museum Centre and a Hostel, providing to the its visitors an unforgettable experience. Today it is assumed as an atraction pole for Viana do Castelo, having received, since its opening to the public in 1998, aproximmately 400.000 visitors.

Information from CM Viana do Castelo.