Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda
The Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda is a Catholic sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the invocation of Nossa Senhora da Peneda, located in the municipality of Arcos de Valdevez, in the district of Viana do Castelo.
In front of the church is the staircase of virtues, with statues representing Faith, Hope, Charity and Glory, dated 1854, the work of master Francisco Luís Barreiros.
After a triangular square where the old dormitories for pilgrims are located (today transformed into a hotel), the sanctuary develops in a tree-lined staircase, with about 300 meters and 20 chapels, with scenes from the life of Christ (Nativity and Passion) ). One of the chapels bears an inscription that attests that it was offered by the Ethiopian negus. At the end of the mall, in a circular square, there is a pillar offered by Queen Maria I of Portugal.
Legend has it that there was an apparition of the Virgin, Nossa Senhora das Neves, on August 5, 1220, to a small shepherdess.
The same legend refers to a previous passage: around 716 or 717 the Christians, who had fled before the Saracens' invasion, would have left an image among the huge fragments of Serra da Peneda.
Implanted a medieval chapel / temple, the cult of Nossa Senhora da Peneda gradually increased in Portugal and Galicia, pouring in thousands of pilgrims throughout the year, but especially in the first week of September.
The Temple fits harmoniously into a majestic stretch of mountain range, with twenty chapels across the pictorial valley where the most intense biblical scenes are evoked, preceded by an atrium with the images of the four evangelists.
It culminates, this unusual sanctuary, by a dignified portico and staircase with a landing where an imposing column topped by the image of Saint Michael the Archangel stands.