Paço dos Duques - Museu Arqueológico de Barcelos
Historic Site and Museum in Barcelos
As one enters Barcelos via the bridge spanning the River Cávado, a garden with the ruins of the former Palace of the Counts of Barcelos comes into view, bearing witness to the city’s medieval past.
The remains are a vestige of a construction from the early 15th century, commissioned by D. Afonso, the eighth Count of Barcelos and the first Duke of Bragança, and stands out as one of the city’s most emblematic monuments.
The edifice presented itself as a palace-castle, denoting the wealth and influence of its proprietor, the illegitimate son of D. João I. With its tall, cylindrical chimneys (of which only one remains), it was a prominent landmark in the city’s urban landscape. The tower, once a protective fortress for the bridge over the river, is no longer extant.
The Counts continued to inhabit the palace until the 17th century, when it began to fall into ruin. The process was hastened by the 1755 earthquake. What remains of the palace now appropriately houses an open-air Archaeological Museum.
The museum exhibits relics that attest to the region’s settlement from prehistoric times, including medieval sarcophagi, heraldic symbols, boundary stones of the House of Bragança, various architectural features from dismantled churches and monasteries, and sculpted blazons from noble houses that have since vanished.
Of particular interest is the Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo, a cross commemorating the legend of the Barcelos Cock, originating from Barcelinhos, one of the parishes of Barcelos located on the other side of the river. Dating from the beginning of the 18th century, the cross depicts the ancient tale of the city’s most prominent symbol in low-relief carvings.
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Visiting Paço dos Duques - Museu Arqueológico de Barcelos
Summer: 9am / 7pm; Winter: 9am / 5.30pm; Open every day
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