Museum opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00

Ducal Palace

Ducal Palace

Ducal Palace: A 15th century Building

It was built for the 8th Count of Barcelos (who came to be the 1st Duke of Braganza), Afonso, a natural son of King João I. Its construction occurred between 1420 and 1433 around the time Afonso married Constança of Noronha.

It is believed that, in the 1500s, the Palace was still the residence of the Dukes of Bragança but, later, it went through a period of abandonment and consequent decay. In the 19th century, due to the French Invasions, the Palace became a military barracks. In the following century, during the Estado Novo dictatorial regime, the Ducal Palace was rebuilt between 1937 and 1959.

It opened to public in June 25 1959, when it became the Official Residence of the Portuguese President in the North of the Country. The objects that garnish the chambers are intended to re-create an inhabited manor house. The collections of tapestries, furniture, ceramics, paintings and weapons are noteworthy.

Did you know… that the word Paço comes from the Latin word Palatium? It was the original name of the Palatine Hill in Rome, where Augustus and his successors established their residence, later becoming the name of the emperor’s own dwelling.

The origins of the medieval palace, a housing model that has been common among European nobility since the early days, combines the tradition of the Roman house (palatium) and the Germanic house (haus):

Palatiu – a noble, sumptuous dwelling, which was distinguishable from other Roman domus by its larger number of chambers and splendid decoration;

Hausaula or sala in Portuguese, the largest and most important chamber, used for the main events.

In the Portuguese language, the oldest form of the word Paço – in use since the 13th century – was paaço. The word Palácio (Palace) only appeared in the 17th century.