At the top of the mount that frames Viana do Castelo stands the “Santuário do Sagrado Coração de Jesus”. Visible from kilometers away, as if welcoming those who enter the city, the temple crowns the “Princess of Lima”. Those who choose to climb the mount are rewarded with a breathtaking panorama, where the bucolic and lush valley merges with the modernity and urbanity of the city, all accompanied by the meandering Lima River that flows into the Atlantic, where we can still almost see the Caravels that once set sail for the Age of Discoveries – all in one place, all in one view.

The sublime beauty of nature combines with human ingenuity, with the Sanctuary glorifying the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Santa Luzia, the advocate of sight, who earned the gratitude of Captain Luís de Andrade e Sousa after he suffered from a serious eye ailment. In the former chapel of Santa Luzia, Andrade e Sousa asks Santa to help him, and after recovering, he thanks her by establishing the “Confraria de Santa Luzia” in Viana do Castelo.

For visitors to the city or its residents, climbing mount is a sign of a different experience that will leave a sweet memory of the city. In addition to the imposing religious structure, you can also stroll through the secluded linden tree garden, have a picnic in the picnic area, and even climb to the dome, where you’ll enjoy a 360º view.


Thanksgiving Devotion

Commonly called the church of Santa Luzia, the patron of the monument is, however, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Historically, the people of Viana had been devoted to it since 1743. However, it was in 1918, during the pneumonic pandemic, that the city consecrated itself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Terrified by the violence of the outbreak and mourning the loss of so many who had perished, the people of Viana vowed to climb annually on a pilgrimage to “Monte de Santa Luzia” if no more lives were taken. When the mortality ceased, the inhabitants fulfilled their promise, and they began ascending the mount annually in 1920. The temple itself had already been under construction since 1904. To this day, the promise is kept with a pilgrimage from the city to the top of the hill on the nearest Sunday to the liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pilgrimages had already begun in the previous century, although they were less organized and without a fixed schedule. In 1984, when the devotees climbed the hill during the “Festas d’Agonia”, Father Dias Silvares suggested the creation of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on top of the hill to watch over and bless the city, the Minho region, and the entire nation. Sculptor Aleixo Queiroz Ribeiro was chosen to execute the work.




After the monumental and artistic column, which was supposed to serve as support for the statue, was built, it was discovered that it couldn’t bear the weight of the statue, which was strongly leaning forward. Therefore, the statue was placed on a pedestal in front of the chapel of Santa Luzia, which would only be demolished in 1926. Taking advantage of the majestic column, Miguel Ventura Terra, one of the greatest architects of his time, envisioned an identical column to be placed in front of the temple to be constructed, serving as support for two angels. Between these two columns, Ventura Terra designed a magnificent temple, whose beauty and grandeur are only matched by the landscape it is set in.

Construction began in 1904 and progressed energetically until the Proclamation of the Republic. From this point on, the process slowed down due to the turbulent political and social context. World War I further delayed the process. In 1925, architect Miguel Nogueira, an apprentice of Ventura Terra, took over the project after his master’s death. Just one year later, the works on the chancel were completed, and the Archbishop and Lord of Braga and Primate of Spain had the honor of opening it to the public. The exterior works of the temple were finished at the end of 1943, and the interior works in 1959. The result is an imposing granite structure carved and executed by the master stonemasons of the region under the direction of Emídio Pereira Lima.



Architecturally, the building has a plan centered on a greek cross, with Byzantine roots. It draws from the same pattern for the enormous dome that crowns the building, as well as the small domes topping the four towers, which are inspired by the Romanesque style, as well as the decoration that winds along the facade of the building. The enormous rose windows, the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, are of Gothic style, framing the beautiful stained glass windows that flood the interior of the church with light and color.

Inside, two angels, created by Leopoldo de Almeida, offer the shields of Portugal and Viana do Castelo to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a replica of the bronze statue at the entrance, sculpted in marble from Vila Viçosa by Martinho de Brito.

The popular attention and devotion of the people of Viana are directed towards the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, originating from the Crúzios convent, and the image of Santa Luzia, which migrated from the chapel that preceded the temple, along with the image of “Nossa Senhora da Abadia”. To complete it, there is also a statue of “Nossa Senhora de Fátima” in the temple for all believers who wish to pay her devotion.

Emídio Lima is the sculptor responsible for the imposing altars in marble and granite, both the main altar and the side altars, dedicated to Santa Luzia and “Nossa Senhora da Abadia”. The pulpit with undulating lines, designed by Miguel Nogueira, is also the work of this sculptor. The three rose windows that adorn the church came all the way from Lisbon, crafted by the workshop of Ricardo Leone. The frescoes surrounding the apse of the chancel and the dome are by Manuel Pereira da Silva, a native of Avintes, and they represent stations of the Via Crucis. Finally, the silver tabernacle was chiseled by the master silversmith Filinto Elísio de Almeida, in Porto.

Thus, the Sanctuary is not only a symbol of religious unity, with people from various parts of the country and the world wanting to visit and pay their respects, whether out of devotion or to fulfill vows, but it is also a unique architectural union, with people from various parts of the country contributing to its construction and elevating it to the reference it has become over the years, for residents and tourists, for Portuguese and foreigners, for believers and non-believers. No one remains indifferent to the perfect symbiosis of the Sanctuary on its mount.