In the 15th century, when the Palace was first inhabited by Afonso, 1st Duke of Bragança, and by his wife, Constança of Noronha, this was probably the most important chamber in the building – the Great Hall – and it also allowed access to the more private areas, reserved only for the Duke and his immediate entourage.
In these buildings, contrary to what is now common, there were no corridors in the houses, and the chambers, as they were then called, were arranged one after the other; thus, they would walk from public chambers to the more private ones.
It is important to notice that, as is common in other Palaces from that period, that the Great Hall of the Palace is followed by three ‘Chambers’ of significantly smaller dimensions, suggesting that one of these areas could have been the ‘sleeping chamber’ of the Duke of Bragança.
In this Great Hall, we would like to draw your attention to the roof, which is shaped like an inverted boat. During the 20th century reconstruction, the roof was built in chestnut and oak and it is thought to be very close in design to the original roof.
In one of the walls, high up, it is possible to notice three small openings, fitted with closed wooden shutters. It is thought that they were used as observation points or peepholes, so that the 15th century Visitor may be observed!
The decoration of the Hall is dominated by the last Tapestry of the four Pastrana series, in which ‘The Taking of Tangier’ is displayed.
The excellent selection of furniture, paintings, tapestries and porcelains in this hall allows the Visitor to catch a glimpse of the way in which wealthy Portuguese people used to decorate their homes during the 17th and 18th centuries.