Rede de Judiarias de Portugal

Freixo de Espada à Cinta

This border town located near the Douro River has a very high differentiating specificity towards the region in which it is; Freixo de Espada à Cinta is filled with an architectural history that includes more than a hundred ogival doors and Manueline Windows.
However, during the 15th Century, Freixo de Espada à Cinta was not a rich and influential land. It suggests that after 1492 the village was heavily reinforced with the construction of new homes, financed by people expelled from Spain who, prohibited to cross the official borders with financial wealth, did so in a less supervised area.
This way we could justify the drafting and worked decorative rich heritage. Sometimes, the house’s ogival door corresponds to two thirds of its height, reflecting a clear and ostensive imbalance rare to observe.
In 1512, when D. Manuel gave the royal charter to Freixo, it was already a land of artisans and dynamic crafts. Judaism coexisted quietly as proved by the symbolic and well sculpted Hejal discovered 500 years later in a house located at the beginning of Fonte Santa street.


-    Historic Center – Centro Histórico
-    15th century portals and Windows – Portais e Janelas do século XV
-    Jewish/religious marks - Marcas judaicas / religiosas
-    House of Chain – Museum – Museu Casa  Chain
-    House-Museum Junqueiro – Casa Museu Junqueiro


In the late 15th century and during the next century, Jews expelled from Spain newly-unified by the Catholic Kings hosted primarily on the verges of Portugal. In this territory, due to its geographical constraint accentuated by the savage and rough cut of the Arribas do Douro, the protection provided by mountain ranges, for being geologically the always hostile, inaccessible and cramped, has made this hidden part of the national territory the neck ideal for their protection. Now analyze the magical-religious symbols associated with the 16th century architecture and expressing the Jewish presence in our region: Hanukiats, Menoraths, Mezuzhats. Hexagram (David´s Star), pentacles (Solomon's seal), cross-shaped. All these symbols appear with greater frequency in bevel and shoulder pads in all the doors of the 16th century houses, accompanied by misaligned vain doors and windows. By a strong oral tradition we are told that any house which bears a cruciform was owned or inhabited by Jews/New - Christians, trying to avoid or minimize the persecution of Inquisition, demonstrating in recording a cross outside the home who inhabited his conversation to Christianity. We should intuit that precisely due to the immense fear emerging at the time, all the places where Jews/News - Christians would abide, would not be fully demarcated going in surely a kind of cohabitation between all the inhabitants of Freixo de Espada à Cinta. 


TourismOffice – Freixo Espada à Cinta
Avenida do Emigrante
5180-103 Freixo Espada à Cinta
Telephone: 279 653 480

1 - Jorge Duarte
Técnico Superior
Museu da Seda e do Território de Freixo de Espada à Cinta
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
279 658 163

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