Portimão’s main church

Major revamp begins around Portimão’s main church

€1.1 million renovations to begin next week

Portimão Municipal Council has announced a €1.1 million revamp of the area surrounding the town’s main Nossa Senhora da Conceição church.

The renovations will include improvements to the area’s pavements, sanitation, and water supply systems, the council says in a statement to the press.

Rua Bispo D. Afonso Castelo Branco, one of the roads due to undergo renovations

The works will be carried out by ‘Consdep S.A. – Engenharia e Construção’ and will start next week with archaeological surveys to “minimise the potential impact” of the project, given the “historically sensitive nature of the area” which “demands protection.”

As the council explains, the revamp is taking place in an “archaeologically sensitive zone” where potential traces of Roman and other occupations could still be found.

Rua Machado Santos is also due to undergo improvements

The area is also home to a section of the late-medieval wall of ‘Vila Nova de Portimão’ (Portimão’s official name before being granted city status exactly 100 years ago),  which is classified as a Public Interest Property.

Singled out as “particularly noteworthy” is the council’s plan to highlight this section of the ancient wall through distinctive pavement, in a bid to call attention to its “significance as important evidence of Portimão’s past.”

Starting from January 15, road traffic in the streets surrounding the church will be restricted for as long as the works are carried out.

A map showing the streets which will be affected by the renovation works

Providing further historical context, the local council explains that the construction of the town’s church is credited to D. Gonçalo Vaz de Castelo Branco, the “financial overseer” of D. Afonso V, appointed in 1476 as the first ‘donatário’ of Portimão (a donatário was someone, most often a noble, who was granted a considerable piece of land (a donataria) by the Kingdom of Portugal). He was tasked by the monarch to continue fortifying the town, a project which started the year prior by royal order.

The walled area exceeded six hectares, forming an irregular polygon with a serrated edge, following the riverbank and encompassing the highest part of the town where the church was situated, the council explains.

By Michael Bruxo

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