Santa Luzia Basilica, a fairy tale set
Santa Luzia Basilica is an imposing religious temple set on top of the homonimous mount, near Viana do Castelo, inspired by the Sacré-Couer.
I was just a child when I visited Viana do Castelo for the first time but even now, many years later, I still recall vividly that first glance I got from the imposing Basilica of Santa Luzia overlooking the city from the top of the homonymous mount and every time I think of it I cannot help feeling that the temple is there with the purpose of protecting the city.
In fact, the beauty of the place impressed me so much that for a while I kept the belief that the Princes and Princesses of the books I read came to Santa Luzia Basilica to marry and only then they could live happily ever after.
The magnificent beauty of Santa Luzia Basilica
Years later, when I returned to Santa Luzia, I realize that the scenery was surely worthy of a fairy tale, even though the fantasy of magic kingdoms of Princes and Princesses was no longer in my mind. I wasn’t the only one to be overwhelmed by the view to the Lima river and its valley, along with the mountains ahead one gets from the basilica, as the National Geographic magazine considered it as one of the most amazing landscapes of the world.
Inspired by the Sacré-Couer, the famed Parisian basilica, the architect Miguel Ventura Terra draw the project of Santa Luzia and the construction works began in 1903 under the influence of priest António Martins Carneiro. The last stage of the works was carried out under the guidance of architect Miguel Nogueira and was concluded in 1943, even though the church had been opened to the public since 1926. The basilica follows a Greek cross structure and presents neo-romantic, byzantine and Gothic influences.
If in the outside the remarkable façade and the amazing panorama conquer the visitors, inside are the richly decorated frescoes, illuminated by the three rose windows, that call for our attention. The stained glasses and the carillon with 26 bells are another monument’s highlights.
For those who aren’t afraid of heights, I recommend the climb of the interior stairs to the balcony on the top of the temple from where the view will leave you speechless
Nearby the Santa Luzia Basilica are the traces of a Pre-Historic settlement from the Iron Age named Citania that are worthy of a visit.