25 May Feira de Barcelos – Handicraft Capital of Portugal (TRAVEL – market)
Photography by: César JL
LOCATION (Google Maps): Barcelos, Portugal.
Situated north of Porto, the city of Barcelos is known for its handmade ceramics, especially the Galo de Barcelos (a colourful cockerel which is acknowledged as an unofficial national icon and often used as a symbol of Portugal).
The medieval walled town is situated on a hill above the River Cávado. After crossing the old bridge over the river, we enter into one of the most emblematic cities of popular Minho art, Barcelos.
A stroll around Barcelos must necessarily include the old fairground, now known as the Campo da República, where you will find the 18th-century churches of Bom Jesus da Cruz and Nossa Senhora do Terço and where Portugal’s largest handicraft fair is held every Thursday. Feira de Barcelos attracts tourists and visitors from all over the region.
The brightly-coloured Barcelos Cock is the most representative of all the pieces produced here, but one should not forget the brass bands and the figures depicting the region´s customs and habits.
For these reasons, the Feira de Barcelos is one of the main factors of tourist attraction in the municipality and inspiration for poets, writers and artists.
If you miss the weekly market, you should definitely visit the Barcelos handicrafts centre (Centro do Artesanato) and the Pottery Museum (Museu de Olaria), where you can get a good general view of Minho arts and crafts.
Located in the historic centre of the city in the House of Mendanhas. The Pottery Museum holds an asset of nearly 9 000 objects. It represents the national as well as other Portuguese-speaking countries pottery traditions.
The Pottery Museum main mission is to protect, study, document, and disseminate collections of pottery that are part of its compilation. It also promotes, supports and assists in studying and preserving, the heritage of pottery production centres in Portugal.
YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY…
Barcelos (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) is an ancient city, situated in an area that has archaeological remains dating back to prehistoric times, although it was really in the 12th century that its history began, first when D. Afonso Henriques granted the settlement a charter and turned it into a town, and then later, in 1298, when D. Dinis rewarded his chief steward by making him a count and giving him the town as part of his title.
In 1385, the Constable Nuno Álvares Pereira became the seventh Count of Barcelos. He then gave Barcelos as a dowry in the marriage of his daughter D. Beatriz to D. Afonso, the bastard son of D. João I. There then followed a period of great development and dynamic growth for Barcelos, displayed by the building of the bridge, the city walls, of which there still remains the Torre da Porta Nova, the Paço dos Duques and the Igreja Matriz.
It is these monuments that today form the city’s historic centre, which still retains a pleasant mediaeval atmosphere and amidst which are scattered manor houses and other historic residences, such as the Solar dos Pinheiros or the Constable´s House.
The Pottery Museum (museuolaria.pt) was created in 1963, following the donation of a very valuable collection gathered by the ethnographer Joaquim Sellés Paes Villas Boas.
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