Occupied since the Castro era, the History of Viseu is closely connected with the History of Portugal. If the mythical figure of Viriathus, the warrior who led Lusitanian tribes against the Romans, gave the old city vital importance during Roman times, King Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese King, established a close connection between the first years of the foundation of the country and this noble city. Viseu is the natural starting point of the Inland Portuguese St. James Way, located 387 km away from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
It’s not possible to separate Viseu from the History of the country, but the arts also owe much to the birthplace of Vasco Fernandes whose works are a symbol of the scholarship and excellence of Portuguese Renaissance. This famous 16th century painter is the figure who left the greatest artistic heritage in Viseu and the Grão Vasco Museum gathers a considerable collection of works from this artist, keeping his memory alive in the city.
Viseu Cathedral is actually a great starting point for a visit to the city. In the cathedral churchyard, one of the most interesting places in the old town, you will find, apart from the Cathedral and the museums, Misericórdia Church, the pelourinho and Passeio dos Cónegos. Here you will often find dark granite, typical in the region, surrounded by contrasting white and seemingly immaculate façades.