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History of Camino Portugues Interior


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1 – The Path (Way)

Crossing the territories of Viseu, Castro Daire, Lamego, Peso da Regua, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Vila Real, Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Chaves, the iconographic route follows mostly route of the so-called "Portuguese Interior Way of Santiago".

There are about 200 kms (Portugal), covering historic and heritage cities, in addition to cross part of the Douro region, a World Heritage site.

2 . Path Description

Taking as starting point the city of Viseu, we discover a city full of History, Heritage and Culture, "(...) is one of the Portuguese towns with Roman antiquity more than guaranteed. (...) To the Romans succeeded the Suevians and Visigoths, who settled on that hill. Village was hard enough to be Diocese, which came to still happen in the sixth century, as in 669, the bishop Remissol, participated in the Council of Lugo. An ancient legend says that the chapel Fetal St. Michael served as a refuge and then to the tomb of King Rodrigo, the last of the Visigoths to govern the Iberian peninsula before the Muslim invasions. It was with Don Fernando Magno in 1058, Viseu who returned to Christian rule, after the raid that Almansor made in Portuguese territory regained. Dona Teresa mother of the King Dom Afonso Henriques, awarded him its first charter in 1123, and some argue that it was in this city that his son was born, King Dom Afonso Henriques.

While episcopal center, Viseu was stressing its importance in the national panorama, developing around the Cathedral and is known also by the genius of Vasco Fernandes, Renaissance painter, who named the grain Vasco Museum, where his major works (deserving highlight the fourteen Cathedral altarpiece panels, the paintings of St. Peter, of Calvary, Pentecost and the Baptism of Christ) and the school that he directed (which includes artists like Gaspar Vaz, among others). We also highlight the most emblematic monuments of Viseu which are at the Renaissance period (Cloister of the Cathedral), Manueline (vaults inside the cathedral), Baroque and Rococo (Church dos Terceiros, do Carmo church, Church of Misericórdia), among others .

Then it follows by Santiago, a village located on the outskirts of the city, where there is a chapel dedicated to the Apostle, following the section by Abraveses, Baltar (Moure Madalena), Campo de Madalena to reach Pousa Maria, where located one of the best Roman road sections (belonging to the road linking the Viseu and Braga to Astorga), where the "old pilgrims to Santiago stepped stones this way and Peregrine staff rhythmic beat these paths of peace where sometimes jumped a thug attracted by easy bag. Here and there rose cruises checking or avoid dangers at the crossroads.

Down up to the location of Almargem across the river Vouga, then the path is made through pine forests until you come to Cabrum currently uninhabited village, where erected the chapel of St. Joseph, dated 1735, built by the villagers, justifying this act by the great distance between them the parish church (sita in Moledo) and the very isolation in the village lived.

Climbing the mountain, comes to Meã Vila, where the chapel was once dedicated to the Apostle São Tiago, although currently present a Marian invocation, namely Nossa Senhora da Saúde.

Following up Moledo, a town that has come to belong to the Lordship of King D. Afonso Henriques schoolmaster (D. Egas Moniz), the landscape is marked by the church of Santa Maria, dating from the eighteenth century Rococo style, although its construction dates back to medieval times, there are currently no traces of it.

Mões is the location below, and was the county seat, between the sixteenth century (through Manueline foral) and the nineteenth century (in 1855, it terminated the county and incorporated into the municipality of Castro Daire), perpetuating this memory through its patent pillory in the town center; Furthermore, there is the church of San Pedro, building from the eighteenth century, although it was restored between 1887 and 1924, the result of a fire that broke out in 1856, having destroyed most of the church; as well as important stately homes, dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

After of the extinct county seat, the path goes to Vila Boa, where traces of graves excavated on rocky and wineries, referring us to the Middle Ages, as well as news of a Roman inscription dedicated to the Manes gods. The chapel, dedicated to St. Pelágio, was the target of improvement works in 1748, instructed, by Manuel José Xavier.

Following until Vila Franca, one crosses the rivers Paiva and Paivó, reaching Fareja and Fareijinhas to climb to Baltar. This small town of Baltar stands out for its singular chapel of St. James, located on the top of a steep street layout.

Going up to the Portas of the Montemuro, the path goes to Moura Morta (place name associated with the legends of the Moors, in this case, perhaps the existence of a "(...) grave, that the people called" Bed of Moira, "observed at the site of Outeiro the Chamissal.

In this town, there is a chapel of St. James, who is still abandoned and is currently naked inside and forbidden access; in addition to the parish church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Presentation, dating from the eighteenth century.

Arriving at Mezio, there is the parish church, built in the eighteenth century and whose interior can be seen the magnificent coffered ceiling with representations of numberless saints, among them São Tiago, San Roque and São Gonçalo, the latter two associated the Jacobean pilgrimage and with particular devotion in the north.

Heading Bigorne passes to Reconcos Bridge, and follows towards Magueija, parish of Saint James, one of the oldest localities of this geographical area, dating back to Roman times, Swabians and Visigoths At the time of the Christian reconquest, it was built a chapel dedicated to St. James and was later remodeled and enlarged in 1768, at the request of the faithful who supported the spending, currently the parish church.

The path continues for Magueijinha, Slaughter and Matancinha, where the unique architecture of the church of Santa Cruz (The construction of this church, lies on the "Schism of Penude", played by Father Justino between about 1917 and 1935, which imposed a continuous corporal mortification, appearing as a role model, in fact, long been his followers that ended up creating a real sect, coming to "overcome" Father Justino

The ecclesiastical authority ultimately dictate the interdiction of the Church and excommunicated Father Justino, ending the movement by fading when his death), whose first stone was laid on September 14, 1917, stands out in the countryside. Then it follows by Bairral, Purgaçal and Penude up into the woods from the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies in Lamego.

Lamego is one of the oldest settlements in the country, having been among the first to be elevated to episcopal, documented by the presence of a bishop at the Council of Braga in 572

Rescued from the Moors in 1057, by Fernando Magno, it is created the diocese of Lamego in 1071. The city of Lamego is a good example of artistic styles and can meet very well preserved examples: the Romanesque, the Castle (Tower) and the church of Santa Maria de Almacave (being seen as the place where you have gathered the first cuts of Portugal, in 1143); Gothic, the Cathedral (although their origin is Romanesque, worth mentioning its facade and the inside, the latter with paintings by Nicolau Nasoni); and Baroque (inside the Cathedral, Museum of Lamego; Sanctuary of Our Remedios, although belonging to the rocaille style); among others.

Becomes the way to Souto Covo, down to Sande, parish dedicated to Saint James, where you begin to spot the Douro river.

It is inevitable to think of the river as part of this itinerary. "The descent to the Douro made up by sinuous route and reached the river, which ran in the rapidly throughout the winter or fast, climbing cliffs in an untamed fury for the rest of the year, the crossing made up of barge , that had in some places where the transposition of the river was calmer. (...) Régua of passing barge ran to the construction of the bridge in 1872.

The town of Peso da Regua, bathed in the river Douro, had no importance in the national panormana until the eighteenth century, when the English "discovered" the Port and it was created Real Companhia of Alto Douro Vineyards, during the reign of Joseph I: "The installation of the Company and the creation, at this location, a warehouse of wines from demarcated region (DOC), the first to be so throughout the world, these wines which were then conducted in Rabelo boats, downstream, to the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite the city of Porto, sparked an intense commercial activity, creating a new village that came down to the Douro, where the docks and warehouses were ".

In the exit of Peso da Regua, lies the locality of Fontaínhas where begins the Roman road to Vila Real, can be seen the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Desterro

Climbing up S. Gonçalo de Lobrigos, it is the small chapel of St. Gonçalo of Lobrigos, and follows up to Saint John of Lobrigos, which is a good example of Baroque architecture in his parish church, eighteenth century work with extraordinary artistic heritage inside.

The path follows by S. Miguel de Lobrigos, Santa Comba, Banduge, Pousada, rising to Covelo, Santa Barbara and Cumieira, which deserves mention his parish church, built in 1729, whose interior is filled with gilded Johannine the period, plus having had paintings on the ceiling, the work of Nicolau Nasoni, but that unfortunately were replaced by wood, stripping him of so artistic value.

Of Silhão follows to Relvas, crossing the river Sordo by a medieval bridge, Parada de Cunhos stop where worth visiting the parish church and the altar of Saint Gonçalo, a pilgrim saint.

In 1289, King Dinis gave charter to Vila Real, one of the points "must" in passing for those who undertook the pilgrimage to Compostela, not admiring this region "(...) is full of places of worship of Santiago, and particularly S Gonçalo de Amarante, to say how much the passage of Jacobean pilgrims was intense throughout the region.

Vila Real, there are references to this route of pilgrimage, especially in the old Campo de Tavolado, where there was a chapel dedicated to Saint James the Apostle in addition to the images, as well as saints related to the pilgrimage as São Gonçalo de Amarante, São Roque and San Sebastian, which can be found in churches and chapels Vila Real

The city has been developing a reference being in the fifteenth century as a place of residence of noble families. One of the most emblematic monuments of Vila Real is the Casa de Mateus, a beautiful baroque palace, built in the first half of the eighteenth century; Also, worth mentioning some religious monuments such as the chapel of São Brás, the Cathedral, the Church of Misericórdia, the church of St. Peter and the Church of the Clérigos (work of Nicolau Nasoni), among others.

Becomes the direction to Calçada, Vila Seca, Gravelos and Escariz, which includes the parish church which houses an image of Saint Gonçalo.

Crossing is an old bridge, you arrive at the Benagouro and Vilarinho of Samardã that deserves our attention, since it was home of writer Camilo Castelo Branco (1825-1890), lying very present in this village his memory as well as the memory of the Confraternity of St Gonçalo, existing once in the village, perpetuating this memory through the image of Saint Gonçalo, patent in the parish church

Heading Tourencinho and Gralheira, are in the latter place remains of a Albergaria nineteenth century, following the path by Zimao, where another chapel dedicated to São Gonçalo, although belonging to Telões parish, whose patron saint is São Tiago

Crossing Parada de Corgo (which, by its place name, tells us to stop pilgrims and travelers in that area) and Montenegrelo, and just before you reach the Vila Pouca de Aguiar, is "(...) Castle of Terra de Aguiar, erected on top of a cliff, authentic sentry on top Corgo.

With a wide military history, with leading role in supporting the cause of Dom Afonso Henriques, the castle ceased to have utility after the War of Independenceof campaigns at the end of the fourteenth century. Like so many others, it was keeling over slowly coming to present a few stones of their wall.

Currently, in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, you can still find traces of Castro and Roman occupation, besides the interesting building of the Town Hall, dating from the eighteenth century, containing inside panels of the artist Jorge Colaço tiled, 1912

The following is to Vila Meã, where there is a small chapel dedicated to São Tiago; taking the road to Pedras Salgadas (known thermal resort), followed for Águas Romanas (Roman Waters), crossing by a Roman bridge, the river Avelames, until you reach Sabrosa de Aguiar.

Comes the interesting little village of Oura, whose patron São Tiago, following the path towards Salus, Vidago (important thermal resort), Valverde, Pereira, Selão and Redial, where a chapel dedicated to São Tiago, following by Vila Nova da Veiga, Outeiro Jusão, reaching Chaves.

The city of Chaves, ancient Roman city of "Aquae Flaviae" (Founded by Emperor Flavius Vespasian in 78 AD, according to an inscription on one of the columns of the Roman bridge, dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian in AD 104), remains a reference in the crossroads.

Still holding traces of fortified settlement occupations, extreme Romanization suffered is evident in the city (with a maximum exponent of the bridge over the river Tâmega), as well as numerous monuments that take us to other historical and artistic eras, deserving highlight the parish church (which aggregates different artistic styles, from Romanesque to Renaissance), the Fort of San Francisco and the Misericordia church (baroque exemplar).

Parallel to its historical significance, the city of Chaves is also important in the history of the Jacobean pilgrimage, as they will have existed two Albergarias and hospital welcomed and addressed the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Taking as its starting point the city of Chaves, the path appears with three possible routes: Vilarelho Raia, Seara Velha and Ervededo.

For the first option (the one that is marked with yellow arrow), becomes the way for Outeiro Seco, passing near the church of Our Lady of Azinheira, dated from the late thirteenth century, following the Senhora da Portela and arriving at the Vilarelho da Raia, parish dedicated to São Tiago (St. James), entering the locality of Verin (Spain).

In the second option, it follows to Vale da Anta, Soutelo, until you reach the Seara Velha, where the parish and the church is dedicated to St. James, deserving highlight like the cruise that is located next to the church
Then becomes the way to the shrines of Our Lady of Aparecida and the Lady das Necessidades, followed by Castelões, Meixide until Soutelinho Raia, where an image of San Roque, holy pilgrim.
Reaching Vilar de Perdizes, we have the reference of a Albergaria for pilgrims to Santiago, since this is one of the chosen pilgrimage routes across the border in Xironda.

Finally, the third option is directed to Seara, passing Couto de Erveredo where the Jacobean pilgrimage tradition is still remembered in the village until the previous existence of a carving of the Apostle stone that will have been delivered to the São Caetano Sanctuary (nearby town), on construction of Couto chapel.

Following a Agrela, we arrive at Cambedo, where a chapel dedicated to São Gonçalo, continuing to Spanish territory in the Casas dos Montes.

Free translation: São Tiago no Caminho.vol.I.Sandra Alves.pdf
Autora: Sandra Maria Pereira Paiva Alves
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A Humble Veteran
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Fall 2014
Caminho Portugues September 2015
AmSimoes: Thank you for posting this information on the Interior Route. I will be cycling from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela. I have never been to Portugal so am looking forward to discovering the culture, language, history and food, especially the later. Muito obrigato. John

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