Living Figueira 12 months a year

Then go! – Cultural walking routes : “Figueira Human Station”



“Figueira Human Station” – Rua Heróis do Ultramar / Rua 10 de Agosto / Rua Visconde da Marinha Grande

Distance: 0.9 kms / 11 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

At the crossroads of the three streets that we propose you to know, locates Dr. António dos Santos Rocha (1853-1910) one of the oldest examples of human occupation of the locality – this is the truly ancient Figueira!

In his 1888 work, “Prehistoric Antiquities of the Municipality of Figueira“, Santos Rocha delightfully describes how, in his team’s archaeological forays near the CruiseOn the ground, chips of quartz, distinctly showing the impact of percussion, and of flint, bearing patina and the marks of intentional chipping – signs of the will of our ancestors – are lifted from the ground.

Months later, when a trench was opened in Rua 10 de Agosto for the installation of water and gas pipes, a new deposit of lithic tools emerged, among them an excellent complete specimen of a spearhead, reproduced here.

One of the largest ancient stone axes that Santos Rocha‘s team had the opportunity to analyze arrived from the Monte neighborhood at the time. It was, the archaeologist says, “in the possession of a woman who considered it a talisman“: “Long years ago, she says, lightning struck through the chimney of her grandmother’s house; it buried itself seven feet deep; and after seven years it came to the surface: it was that stone! It preserves from lightning, and, the owner creates, that if it fell to the ground, it would burst with great failure, and be able to destroy the house!“.

These treasures of the primitive occupation of Figueira da Foz can be admired at the Dr. Santos Rocha Municipal Museum.

Starting point: Rua Heróis do Ultramar
Points of interest: Cruzeiro da Figueira

In Rua Heróis do Ultramar, near the headquarters of the Bombeiros Voluntários and beyond a small wrought-iron gate, there is an intriguing monument: it is the Figueira cross and was erected in 1812.

It commemorates the many victims of the famine and exanthematous typhus epidemic that struck a huge mass of the population between the 2nd and 3rd French Invasion (1809-1810).

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From February 1809, thousands of people from the surrounding parishes and municipalities sought refuge in this military square from the vile pillaging, murder and humiliation they had suffered at the hands of the French.

Despite all the solidarity shown by the town of Figueira towards these refugees – to whom it offered shelter, food and medical aid in 1811 the number of victims of hunger and typhus was around 5,000.

The need to give dignified burial to so many people exceeded the capacity of the cemetery of the Convent of St. Anthony, so it was in the fence of the Convent that many were buried.

For your convenience, we leave the translation of the Latin inscription by the Reverend Father Jaime Ferreira, published in the Álbum Figueirense in August 1934:

In the year 1810, when a large part of Portugal was occupied by the very powerful and terrible army of the French, and all the people, not only from the surrounding area but also from afar, rushed to this town in order to save themselves by fleeing from the great calamities of the war, without bringing with them any means of life, or certainly a few, there was a terrible shortage of food.

This led to an epidemic, with up to 5,000 people dying in January, February and March of the following year.

Most of them were finally buried, here and in a place not far away, by order of the royal magistrate who, with the help of others, provided food for as long as he could to as many as possible.

You who read this, tremble at tragic events and adversity, and even more, fear the high judgments of God concerning men, righteous, no doubt, but often terrible and unfathomable to men.”

This cruise is classified as a Property of Public Interest, by decree of December 5, 1961.

Heading east, we turn right at the crossroads, towards Rua 10 de Agosto.

2nd station: Rua 10 de Agosto
Points of interest: GNR Training Center

Rua 10 de Agosto was established in 1789, with the variable designation of “Vale”, “Vale de Lamas” or “Vale do Monte”. Given the proliferation of wine warehouses that were established on this hillside, in 1803, the artery was named “Rua do Rio Tinto”.

The relevance of the definitive name may escape contemporaries but here it is: on August 10, 1880, work began on the construction of the Beira Alta Railway line, which opened the village to the city in 1882 and the city to Europe.

The yellow wall that accompanies us down the first third of Rua 10 Agosto marks the limits of the GNR Training Center of Figueira da Foz.

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This is where the permanent Army installations were erected in 1920, the first artillery detachment having set up here in 1897.

The importance of the military presence in the city, formalized by the marching order of January 8, 1897 of the Minister of War José Estêvão de Morais Sarmento, is very much alive: noting the important contribution to the political, social and economic development of Figueira da Foz made by the establishment of an Army unit, the Commercial and Industrial Association of Figueira promoted the foundation of a charitable institution to remember and perpetuate the event. Thus was born the Work of Figueira, today incorporated in the Mercy and its action in favor of the community.

Let us now turn to Mercy. Turning right at the intersection, we go up Rua do Hospital, down Rua do Hospital and around the Misericórdia wall, climbing the stairs to Largo Silva Soares.

End: Largo Silva Soares
Points of interest: Church of Santo António and Church of São Francisco

The Church of Santo António or Capela da Misericórdia corresponds to the temple of the Franciscan convent founded in 1527 and which was an important center of faith and charitable devotion in the region.

Erected at the beginning of the century. XIX, the Church of São Francisco, or “of the Third Order”, preserves a rich heritage of its own, for many people still unknown.

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It was on the initiative of Father Frei António de Buarcos, recognized at the time for the construction of the religious houses of the Convent of Viseu and the Monastery of Santa Clara de Viseu, with the support of King João III and the patronage of António Fernandes de Quadros, 1st Lord of Tavarede, that, in 1527, the Convent of Santo António was built, halfway between Buarcos and Tavarede, in the place of Figueira.

The story of its construction, its humility and the disasters that befell it, is told in the History of the Order of St. Francis, in 1709: surrounded by the fresh and healthy air of its wide and fruitful fence, despite its simplicity, the Convent did not escape the ravages of military and pirates.

The convent was nationalized after the extinction of the religious orders in 1834, the building survived with new civil functions, the church having always been reserved for prayer. In the choir you can still appreciate a chair from the century. XVIII, unique in the world, which in 13 painted wooden panels tells the story of the life of Santo António, the most genuine Portuguese Saint.

Since its foundation, the Convent relied on the proximity and support of the laity, organized in a Secular Order composed of the “good men” of the place of Figueira. Contributing with alms and good to the pursuit of the Franciscan mission – communion with the humblest, the refusal of the domination of material goods over the Spirit, the construction of a fraternal human community, respect and care for Nature and the recognition of the humanity of God, they maintained the Order’s connection with the population through the organization of public solemnities and endeavored to build, in the middle of the century, a new community of Franciscans. XIX, the adjoining church of San Francisco.

Simple in its single nave, it is adorned with tiles from the “Viúva Lamego” factory and particularly striking images of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of the Conception which, although of recent manufacture, accentuate its Baroque nobility.

A Pó de Saber – Culture and Heritage organizes regular guided tours to the Churches of Santo António and São Francisco and tailor-made programs to visit the military, urban and artistic heritage of Figueira da Foz.



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