The Church of the Saviour is located in the parish of Real, in the south-western point of the municipality of Amarante. At the time of the “Inquirições” [administrative enquiries] in 1258, the parish was called São Salvador (Saint Saviour), who was the patron saint, and it was also the name of the locality.
There was, however, the place of Rial. It should be clarified that, in the case of this parish, the designation of Real does not come, as at first glance it may seem, from a term connected to royalty, rather it derives from rial, a set several springs, a derivation of rigu.
The topography and the location of the Church of the Saviour prove so: the parish is framed within a very narrow valley, formed, to the northeast, by ridges or hilltops and the Church stands on a small plain embedded in the hill, in a secluded place and surrounded by water lines.
Little reached us on the history of this Church dedicated to the Saviour. According to the “Inquirições” [administrative enquiries] of 1220, eleven of the lands in this parish belonged to this Church and all other to the Monasteries of Mancelos, Travanca, Bustelo and to the Church of Vila Cova.
Built in the first quarter of the 14th century, and suffering significant changes in the Modern Era, this property could be labelled with what we call the late Romanesque.
In the 18th century, this place of worship was duly refurbished and embellished, as demonstrated by the compliment made to the priest of the parish by the “Visitador” [an Inspector] of 1760, when he refers to the care devoted to the works carried out in the church.
With the construction of the new parish church in 1938, the Church of the Saviour of Real falls into collective oblivion, raising from such forgetfulness in the late 80s.
14th century – Construction of the Church of Real;
1726 – There was no sacrarium and its abbot was Tomás Pereira do Lago;
18th century (mid) – Significant construction campaigns change the medieval construction;
1768 – Period of the alternative patronage between the Diocese of Braga and the Monastery of Travanca;
1864 – The Church was in good state of preservation;
1938 – Construction of a new parish church;
2010 – Integration of the Church of the Saviour of Real in the Route of the Romanesque.
Architecture and Furniture
Built in the first quarter of the 14th century, the Church of the Saviour of Real left very few testimonies of those times when, despite already announcing Gothic art, Romanesque solutions were still used in the construction of religious spaces.
The portal bears witness: features no tympanum, the columns are headed by capitals with small-sized sculpture and attached to the echinus and the two archivolts that give body, in addition to being broken, are round-shaped. The decorative motifs on the capitals focus on phytomorphic and botanic themes, and on a mask in the corner of one of the capitals. Note that this decorative scheme is very similar to the one in the neighbouring church of Mancelos.
From the times of the Romanesque edification remain, in south side façade, an arcosolium with sarcophagus, whose cover boasts an engraved sword, which denounces the social status of those buried there and, in the massive stone perpendicular to the southeast point of the chevet, attached to it, a bell tower of clear Romanesque flavour.
But, above all, the 18th century is currently the most perceived in the Church, evident in the lighting opening spans in the nave and chancel, in the design of the three crosses that align in the gables and terminals of the nave’s corners.
Once inside and resting directly on the wall, the triumphal arch is formed by two broken archivolts.
Noteworthy is the bare nature of this Church accented by stucco coating that covers it in its entirety, bringing out, much to the chiaroscuro effect, the crosses of consecration, Romanesque, pattées and inscribed in a circle.
The construction of a new parish church in the 1930s and the transfer to a new space of the altarpiece that belonged to this temple is another reason for its bare nature.
Although stucco covered its entire inside, in the beginning of the 50s of the 20th century, witnesses report the existence of a painting depicting Christ being baptized by his cousin John, in River Jordan. This painting served as a background to the baptistery, at the entrance of the Church, on the left, and dates back to the 18th century or early 19th century.
The font seems to be of Romanesque times, with its circular granite bowl, much to the taste of such artistic style, sitting on a cylindrical foot and this on a cubic plinth.
Regular guided visits