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Old Vila Real

Old Vila Real

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Old Vila Real - along Carvalho Araújo Avenue

In the early years of the 20th century, a section of houses, was demolished, to open up this broad, well laid out avenue with its pavements in Portuguese cobbles. It was named in honour of Carvalho Araújo, a heroic officer in the Navy, who lost his life in combat during the First World War.

On the southern side, there is the elegant 19th century Vila Real Municipal Council Hall. Take a look at the double granite staircase. This entire structure was transferred from the 16th century former convent of S. Francisco (Saint Francis) as the convent and all around it were demolished to make way for the Forest Park along the river Corgo. To the left of the Council Hall, in a characteristically medieval house, with an external staircase leading up to a broad arcade, is the birthplace of explorer Diogo Cão, who discovered the mouth of the river Zaire, in 1483. Further along the same side, there is the gothic church that is the Vila Real Cathedral.

On the opposite side to the Se, there is the tourism office in part of the former Marquis of Vila Real's palace outhouses (also known as the Casa do Arco (House of the Arch)). This 15th century building features four twinned granite Manueline windows, sharply contoured and delicately decorated. The line of the Marquis of Vila Real ended in 1641 when the last descendent, Pedro de Meneses, was accused of betraying king João IV and decapitated in Rossio square in Lisbon.

Almost at the top of the avenue, on a bust in the gardened centre, there is an expressive bronze statue in homage to Carvalho Araújo by Anjos Teixeira (1884-1935).

As you continue along down Avenida Carvalho Araújo and Avenida Marginal, take a look at the fortified houses and retail establishments. This is the traditional, bustling heart of Vila Real.


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