Vila Real – History and Heritage

Vila Real – History and Heritage

Firstly, Vila Real is a city that not only represents the beautiful region of Trás-os-Montes, but also the welcoming and historic country that is Portugal.


First of all, Vila Real is synonymous with History and Heritage. This, in addition to the beauty and refinement that characterize the city and delight those who visit it.

While there are plenty of monuments in our country, Vila Real has beautiful examples that portray and honor great Portuguese figures and achievements.

Therefore, we invite you to get to know some of them and (why not?) to get inspired for your next trip through the magnificent Douro region.

Vila Real – History and Heritage.


Church of São Domingos

First of all, it is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the Trás-os-Montes region.

In this way, the old church of São Domingos is today the Cathedral of Vila Real and is located in the center of the city.

The monks from Guimarães were responsible for its foundation, at the time of D. João I (1421), and it was erected three years later.

It is a sober building, with Gothic features in all its splendor, and underwent renovations in the 18th century.

For all it represents, it has been classified as a National Monument since 1924.


House of the Marqueses of Vila Real

At first glance, the name is not deceiving and it was here that the Marqueses of Vila Real lived, whose lineage ended in 1641.

In this way, it is located on Avenida Carvalho Araújo, right in front of the old convent of Santo Domingo, and some call it Casa do Arco.

In this sense, the building was built in the 16th century and consists of two floors, which have outstanding elements.

As a result, its facade is made of granite and adorned by four barred Manueline windows.

Finally, we highlight the basement of this unique house: it is there that the Tourism Office of the Municipality of Vila Real works.

Diogo Cão’s House

First of all, it is known that Diogo Cão, born in Vila Real, is an unavoidable name when it comes to the Portuguese Discoveries.

Squire to the house of King D. João II, he was sent on expeditions by him, having sailed and explored the west coast of Africa, and arrived at the mouth of the Zaire River, in the 15th century.

Thus, Casa de Diogo Cão is located close to the Town Hall and the Cathedral, being a medieval-style building, with three floors and a stone facade.

Also in the upper part of the city, there is a homonymous square with a garden, where a tribute monument to this historic figure is erected.

Finally, this emblematic house is classified as a Property of Public Interest (PPI).

Clérigos Church

Firstly, we associate this name with one of the monuments that is one of the biggest visiting cards of the city of Porto.

Similarly, Vila Real also has its Clérigos Church, also known as Capela Nova.

In this sense, we refer to an elegant temple with typically Baroque features, with an imposing facade, being a place of great interest for those visiting the city.

The Clérigos Church is located on Rua Direita, where you can admire the tile panels depicting the life of São Pedro and São Paulo, in addition to a Renaissance carving.

According to most findings, the authorship of this fabulous religious monument is by Nicolau Nasoni, a famous Italian architect.

Matthew’s House

Finally, what is, most likely, the most emblematic and admired building in the city of Vila Real: the Matthew’s House, owned by the foundation with the same name.

In this sense, this monumental palace has, around it, splendid gardens, which are part of a vast estate.

Once again, the name of Nicolau Nasoni appears associated with an emblematic work of the city: the design of Matthew’s House project is by the Italian genius.

In this way, the palace is (more) one of the great symbols of Baroque art in Portugal.

Thus, its construction dates back to the first half of the 18th century, and its interior decoration is characterized by highly crafted wooden ceilings and furniture from different periods.

The 17th and 18th-century paintings, silver, and ceramic objects also help to beautify this extraordinary building.

Finally, a beautiful library, where a remarkable edition of the work Os Lusíadas stands out, completes the list of attractions of this imposing Douro palace.

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