Rede de Judiarias de Portugal

Vila Nova de Foz Côa

City located in the Douro region, and its tributary Côa, Vila Nova de Foz Côa includes two World Heritage Sites of UNESCO: the landscape of the Douro and rock carvings.
Has a Jewish Quarter located in the Castle district. After the expulsion decree of 1497, the Jews continued to live in the Castle street, the main axis of the district.

This is where today is located the building corresponding to the ancient synagogue (thus transmitted by the voice of the people) and that centuries ago was transformed into the St. Quitéria’s Chapel (square plan).
In Freixo de Numão, another ancient town (since 1372) and the county seat, the Jewish population rose sharply at the time of the expulsion from Spain (1492). Near the Pillory square we can see the Jewish House, typical build of that time.

Following the French Revolution (1789) many Jews from Trás-os-Montes emigrated in Bordeaux and Bayonne won equal political rights to vote, later enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1791). Was probably this fact that in 1808 led to the attack by Old Christians against New Christians in Vila Nova de Foz Côa during the French invasion under the accusation of their alliance with the invaders. More than one hundred deaths were registered.

Are identified more than 130 inquisition processes by Judaism against naturals or residents in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, having occurred between 1541 (the first one) and 1763 in which there was no sentence.
In relation to Freixo de Numão the number of processes is even higher (156) and took place between 1569 and 1764.


With references after 1541, it is believed that the Jewish community having been formed from a displacement of the judaizers to regions apparently less permeable to the action of the Tribunal of the Holy Office, such as Vila Nova de Foz Côa, where no commune / Jewry. With the decline of the Court of the Holy Office, the population of Foz Côa Jews was not left alone: new persecutions and manifestations of religious intolerance succeeded.

The presences of some Jewish elements in the county confirm the thesis that the Jewish community of Foz Côa was formed during the 16th century. The Chapel of Santa Quitéria is considered as an old synagogue, because of the quadrangular plan (model used in Jewish temples) and the ceiling in "Mudejar style".

On the front of the church were identified the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel), the Lion of Judah and Hebrew characters, which reveals that the Jews participated in the workings of the new facade of the Church as a sign of sincere reconversion to Catholicism, and add others, such as the Hebrew characters crowning the building "Listen, Israel: Jehovah our God , Is your only Lord. "

The inscriptions in New-Christian houses, such as the dedication "Praise the Blessed Sacrament", discloses the desire for social integration and recognition of the new social status.


Centro de Informação Turística de Vila Nova de Foz Côa


-    Douro River – High Wine Region – UNESCO World Heritage
-    Archaeological Park of Vale do Côa – UNESCO World Heritage
-    Main Church (Manueline frontage)
-    St. Quitéria Church (probably the old synagogue) and Jewish Quarter
-    Village of Castelo Melhor
-    Old Castle (Freixo de Numão)
-    Jewish house of Freixo de Numão
-    Castle of Numão
-    Jewish houses of Numão


Tourism Office – Vila Nova de Foz Côa
Av. Cidade Nova n.º 2
5150-566 Vila Nova de Foz Côa
Telephone: 279 760 329

back to top