Churches of Mouraria

Churches of Mouraria

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Duration - 3 hours

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Difficulty - High

Strolling around Mouraria means remembering the Portuguese diaspora, the peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures; it means walking by narrow streets and alleys of the old Moorish Lisbon; it means remembering lost palaces and convents, Fado, old trades and potter workshops.

This palace with a Pombaline design was built by the brothers Rodrigues Caldas from 1765 to 1775. Later, by donation of the sisters Caldas Machado, it became property of the Patriarchate of Lisbon. Here lived Fr. Francisco Rodrigues da Cruz from 1927 to 1948, whose beatification process is on course. Fr. Cruz’ room, on the second floor, can be visited and is a site of devotion. The palace chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Conception, is usually closed. Nowadays, the palace serves as headquarters to the CDS-PP Party.

This palace with a 18th century Baroque façade serves today as headquarters to Associação de Socorros Mútuos dos Empregados no Comércio (Friendly Society of the Commerce Employees). In the 15th century though, here was St. Christopher Royal Palace, where in 1451 the wedding reception of King Anfonso V’s sister, Dona Leonor, to the emperor Frederic III were held. One of the architectural remains of the old palace can still be seen in a gate in Rua do Regedor 2. The building is known as Aveiras Palace or Vagos Palace, for here lived the Earl of Aveiras, later created Marquis of Vagos.

São Cristóvão São Cristóvão

This is one of the few churches in Lisbon that resisted the 1755 earthquake and is a good example of the Portuguese first Baroque period. In this same place, there was a Christian Mozarabic church dedicated to St. Mary of Alcamim, but by the beginning of the 14th century, it had already the present invocation of St. Christopher. After being destroyed by a fire in the beginning of the 16th century, it was rebuilt and underwent further refurbishment works in the second half of the 17th century. Its interior preserves the original 17th century decoration, namely the gilt woodwork and the paintings by Bento Coelho da Silveira (1618-1708). In the old sacristy, there are the tombs of Dom Fernando de Miranda, bishop of Viseu, as well as his relatives’.

This retreat provided housing for ladies who had no other means of sustenance. On the gate there’s a stone plaque, which translates thus: Praised be the Most Blesses Sacrament. This is the Retreat of Our Lady of Help, for Orphan Girls. Pater Noster for the souls. 1610. Nowadays, St. Christopher retreat still serves its original function.

This house with jetties with two doors under ogival arches is one of the few medieval houses that survived the 1755 earthquake.

The name of this street reminds us of what used to be the main trade around here. One can notice the houses with jetties and stone plaques embedded on the façade, at nrs. 24, 25 to 27 and 30, indicating the landlord of the building. At nr. 24, for example, the raven and the inscription “São Vicente” (St. Vincent). In the house with jetties at nrs. 32 to 34, notice the beautiful devotional tile panel depicting St. Martial.

The palace was originally built in the 17th century and rebuilt after the earthquake in articulation with St. Lawrence church. The arms above the portal are those of the Viscount of Vila Nova de Cerveira, later created Marquis of Ponte de Lima, which title was later held by the Marquises of Castelo‑Melhor. Further down there is an embedded inscription plaque, which translates: Rebuilt in 1904, by order of the Marquis of Castelo Melhor.

The square name owes its name to a Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary, known as Convento da Rosa. The building got badly damaged by the 1755 earthquake, so the nuns did not come back to the convent and were transferred to St. Joan’s Convent, near Largo de Andaluz. That is why there is a plaque on the façade of the house, stating to whom should the foro (emphyteutic tax) be paid: Foro a Santa Joana.

The old St. Lawrence Church, today desacralised, stands on the west side of Rosa Palace. The two round stones with crosses on the façade are medieval headstones found in this place. Another stone in the façade reads: “Those who, having confessed and received the holy communion, climb these steps, enter this church and pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the concord of Christian Princes, the extirpation of heresies and the exhaltation of the Catholic Faith, and also for the souls of those who at their expense ordered the construction of this church, shall have one year of indulgence for each time they do it; and if on St. Lawrence day, from vespers to vespers, a plenary indulgence and the remission of all sins. 1587”. The palace and the church were bought in 1970 by the city council.

Nossa Senhora do Socorro Nossa Senhora do Socorro

On the site of the old mosque, a convent of Dominican sisters was installed. In 1538, the Canons Regular of Saint Anthony, under which name the convent became known, occupied the building. In 1542, it became by donation the first house of the Society of Jesus in the world and, eleven years later, its first college in Portugal. The house became known as Coleginho (Little College), or Old St. Anthony College, when, in 1593, the Jesuits moved to another house, which became known as New St. Anthony College, where St. Joseph Hospital is now. At this time, the house became the convent of the Hermits of Saint Augustine. In 1950, the church became seat to the parish of Our Lady of Help, when its church was demolished to build the current Praça de Martim Moniz. The structure of church’s sacristy, built in the 17th century, remains almost intact and preserves beautiful embedded marbles and 18th century tiles. In the small cloister, the columns show their 16th century capitals.

This small square honours Maria Severa Onofriana (1820-1846), better known simply as Severa, a celebrated figure of Fado, immortalised in a novel by Júlio Dantas and in the first Portuguese sound movie by Leitão de Barros. Severa’s house, in Rua do Capelão 35A, is signalled by a plaque. Mouraria district is the cradle of Fado and birthplace of many famous Fado singers. A plaque also signals the house where Fernando Maurício was born.

This building at nr. 64 of Rua da Mouraria might pass unnoticed given the changes it underwent. Nevertheless, the Manueline portal with its inverted columns indicates the buildings antiquity. Here was the first house for orphan or abandoned children in Portugal. It was created in the 13th century by Dona Beatriz. The orphanage was reformed in the 16th century by Queen Catarina and trusted to the Jesuit Priests. After being taught Christian doctrine, the boys would set off to Africa, Asia or Brazil to help the missionaries in their preaching. The tile panes attributed to Domingos de Almeida, depict scenes of the Old and New Testament and served a double purpose: decorating the building and teaching the catechism.

Nossa Senhora da Saúde Nossa Senhora da Saúde

Until 1506 there was a chapel here dedicated to St. Sebastian, whose construction was ordered by the artillerymen of Lisbon, when the city suffered from a massive outbreak of plague. By the end of the 16th century, the Confraternity of Our Lady of Good Health, whose image was kept in the nearby College of Jesus for Orphan Boys, settled in. The first procession of Our Lady of Good Health dates from the end of the 16th century and still happens today on the first Sunday of May. Notice that the design of the pavement in front of the church replicates the outline of the façade. The tile panels inside are from the 18th century and by the school of António de Oliveira Bernardes. Here are the headquarters of the Royal Confraternity of Our Lady of Good Health and St. Sebastian.

The name is thought to have originated by distortion of Boi Formoso, fair ox. The original name of the street reminds us of the time, when this area was a suburb with its farms and pastures. By this street, one of the ways to the city, the countrymen would come to sell their products in Figueira Market.

The square was named after Diogo Inácio de Pina Manique, who was Intendant General of the Police during the reign of Queen Mary II (1777-1816).

Pina Manique (1733-1805) lived in house nr. 52, where there is a plaque honouring him as the founder of Casa Pia.

The façade of the old factory is covered with figurative tiles: two Chinese unfold scrolls where the name of the factory owner and the date of establishment are written, António da Costa Lamego, year of 1849. The shop Vida Portuguesa occupies the building today.

The street owes its name to the many potter workshops that existed here and were run by Moors, who settled in this part of town after the conquest of Lisbon in 1147. The existence of these workshops is due to the fact that this place was rich in clay.

Senhor Jesus da Boa Sorte e Via Sacra Senhor Jesus da Boa Sorte e Via Sacra

The church, built from 1759 to 1764, has a sculpture of Christ on the Cross attributed to Machado de Castro. In the lateral niches, there are images of St. Sebastian and St. Anthony. The inscription on the façade states that “This chapel belongs to the Confraternity of the Brothers of Good Fortune and Via Crucis, year of 1758”. The instruments of Passion are represented in the tympanum over the portal.

This small chapel surmounted by a cross is one of the two remaining stations of the cross in the itinerary of the procession of Our Lord Jesus of the Stations, which has been taking place since the 16th century from St. Roch Church to the Church of Our Lady of Grace.

In this beautiful palace there is another station, Simon of Cyrene’s one. In this house in 1647 St. John de Britto was born. After being educated in the Jesuit New College of St. Anthony, he departed to India as a missionary in 1673. His work in Madurai’s mission was extraordinary and gained him the appellation of ‘Portuguese St. Francis Xavier’. He ended up being arrested and martyred in 1693.

The theatre company Teatro da Garagem is installed at Costa do Castelo, 75, in the site of an ancient chapel in the estates Old St. Anthony’s Convent. The building serves as theatre hall since 1870.

This mural represents the bustle on this street with the coming and going of the couriers, who worked for the family Gomes da Mata. The street was named after this family, who had the monopoly of the public mail services from 1606 to 1797.

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