Tower, Museum, Church
The architectural complex of Clerics, considered a National Monument since 1910, is one of the main points of interest for its Tower, Museum and Church, and a must-see location for all those who visit the city of Porto.
The church and the Tower are part of a baroque-inspired building from the 18th century, which marked the city's urban configuration, located on an uneven street, but brilliantly used by Nicolau Nasoni, who managed to create a landmark building. The Church and the Tower are adjoined to the House of the Brotherhood, which since 2014, after it became a museum, is open to the public.
In the year 1753, at the request of the Brotherhood of Clerics, the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni presented the project for a bell tower, and in 1754 they would start the works of what would become the most beautiful Tower, dominating the entire urban landscape of Porto. In July 1763, with the placing of the iron cross on the top, and the image of St. Paul in the niche above the door, its construction was finished.
The baroque characteristics that define it are the maximum expression of the baroque spectacular, where the typical motifs of this style give the tower movement and beauty.
At more than 75m high, after climbing 225 steps and reaching the top of the tower, the view over the city is absolutely stunning. From a 360° perspective, visitors can enjoy a unique moment, whether day or night, when in special times, the tower opens its doors until 11 PM.
The Tower of the Clerics is undeniably the ex-libris of the city, and an excellent viewpoint.
The journey through the House of the Brotherhood (1754-1758), where the Museum is located, provides a return to the past, the experience of exploring spaces that were once private and destined for the daily life of the Brotherhood of the Clerics.
Walking through the Casa do Despacho (Dispatch Room), the Sala do Cofre (Safe Room), the Registry, and the old infirmary, one can see that the Museum has a collection of cultural assets of considerable artistic value, from the 13th century to the 20th century, which spreads in sculpture, painting, furniture and goldsmithery collections. These assets are messengers of a historical and cultural heritage, whose function being lost in the passage of time, gave way to a museum.
The infirmary of the Brotherhood of the Clerics, which operated until the end of the 19th century dedicated to the treatment of sick clerics, has been converted into an exhibition space, and currently hosts the Christus collection. This exhibition, conceived from the donation of a collection by a private collector, reveals the passion for collecting, and tells a story complemented by objects, once of devotion, nowadays considered cultural legacies of interest. These are works of sculpture, painting and goldsmithery, which exalt the encounter of the art with faith.
The exhibition, distributed in three rooms - Passion, Journey of Shapes and Images of the Christ - invites you to travel through time and space, through image and devotion.
The donation of a land, located in Campo do Olival, at that time the largest plot of land in Porto, allowed the Brotherhood of the Clerics to build their own church.
The Church of the Clerics project, by Nicolau Nasoni, was approved at a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Clerics in December 1731. The works started in April 1732, with the opening of the foundations, thus beginning the construction of that which would become the first church in Portugal with an ellipse shaped plan. In addition, the gallery that surrounds the entire nave, making it possible to observe the church as a whole, is also a unique feature of this temple. The various existing windows allow the entrance of light, which enhances the splendor of the gilded carving, present in the church, creating a beautiful set of colors with marble.
The dome boasts the coat of arms of the Brotherhood of the Clerics, in faux granite, and rests on six pillars, standing out two pulpits and two grids, the oldest examples of gold carving in the church, and four lateral altars are opened: the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Emygdius and Saint Anne.
Seventeen years later, in 1749, the building of the church was completed, but its fixtures, and later the enlargement of the chapel, would prolong the works in the church for a few more years.
In the background, the spacious chapel in rectangular oblong shape (longer than wide), is embellished with a marble altar and a rococo-inspired altarpiece, with the design of Manuel dos Santos Porto, in which a throne crowned by the image of the Patroness, Our Lady of the Assumption, stands out. On the flanks of the altarpiece, the co-patron saints of the Brotherhood of the Clerics are highlighted, St. Peter ad Vincula and St. Philip Neri, two painted wooden sculptures.
The main chapel is adorned by the seats and the two organs of Iberian or "Portuguese" pipes, whose construction began simultaneously, in the year 1774. The seats would be finished in 1777 and the organs only two years later.