Capela São Frutuoso

Capela São Frutuoso
© Jose Goncalves / CC BY-SA 3.0
Capela São Frutuoso and São Salvador
© Jose Goncalves / CC BY-SA 3.0
Interior of São Frutuoso
© amaianos / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Chapel of São Frutuoso was, incredibly, first built by the Visigoth kingdom in the sixth century AD. This makes it some 1500 years old, and one of few such structures to exist anywhere in Portugal. Today its squat Greek cross form and plain stone exterior is somewhat overshadowed by the much later Church of São Salvador, which is connected to it on one side.

Tradition has it that this place of Christian worship was built to replace an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine and good health. It managed to survive the period of Arab rule on the Iberian Peninsula (which permitted Christians to worship as before) largely intact, although the bones of the saint it was built to house were subsequently moved elsewhere.

Since the early 1700s the entrance to the Chapel of São Frutuoso has been via the church of São Salvador. It's no doubt worth making the slight detour to explore one of the oldest post-Roman structures in the country.

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