Visit the

Trancão River Viewpoint
in Sacavém


The ferryman raised a small triangular sail, the wind assisted the tide, and both wind and tide assisted the ship. The oarsmen, restored by alcohol and a good night’s rest, rowed steadily at na easy pace. When they rounded the coastline, the ship was buffeted by a strong current, it was like a journey to Paradise, with the sunlight flickering on the surface of the water, and two shoals of porpoises, first one, then the other, were crossing in front of the ship (…) On the other side, towering above the water and in the far distance, Lisbon could be seen stetching beyond the city walls. (…) There was a confusion of fishing boats and caravels unloading cargo (…)

Trancão River Viewpoint

On the meeting point between the Tagus and Trancão, Sacavém stands out for the fertility of its lands, for the exploitation of saltpans, and for the river transport of the various products that go from inside the boundaries into Lisbon. These conditions once allowed the emergence of an important river port with a docking pier. According to the Memórias Paroquiais (Parish Memories), in the 18th century the village was composed of two urban centers: Sacavém de Cima and Sacavém de Baixo and had three hundred and fifty small communities. In 1759, in Sacavém de Baixo, three piers were born: Nossa Senhora; Barca; and Peixe, which confirm the economic dynamics of the locality. One could find numerous vessels circulating the river.

Nossa Senhora da Purificação Church

Founded as a convent church for the Convent of Our Lady of the Conception and the Martyrs of Sacavém by the then governor of the Kingdom, Miguel de Moura, on behalf of King Philip II of Spain in 1596, it was meant for the occupation of the Clarisse nuns. This temple became a parish church to Sacavém in 1863, and Nossa Senhora da Purificação (Our Lady of Purification) replaced its original invocation. It is a mannerist construction, of sober layout, with a lateral entrance and a bell tower a corner with an image of Our Lady may be observed. Inside, one must highlight the hand-painted tiles with scenes from the Marian cult and which were produced in the 20th century Sacavém Dishware Factory.

Sacavém Ceramic Museum

The Sacavém Ceramic Museum was built around furnace 18. Its mission is to study the history and production of the Sacavém Dishware Factory and the industrial heritage of the municipality of Loures. In the collection, two nuclei stand out: the parts manufactured in the Factory and the materials and utensils used in the manufacture and some of some of the machinery. In the Manuel Joaquim Afonso documentation centre, the Museum also guards a valuable bibliographic collection, in addition to archives of other industrial units of the municipality, namely the Abelheira factory, and some personal archives of artists and graphic documents.

Sacavém Fort

Located on the right bank of the Trancão River, near its mouth, the Fort of Sacavém, or Stronghold of Mount Cintra, is a nineteenth-century military building, of an irregular pentagonal plan. It was part of the nucleus of the so-called Entrenched Field of Lisbon. Its construction began in 1872, under the direction of the Marquis of Sá da Bandeira, with the aim of defending the capital. The Sacavém Fort currently holds two important archives of cultural heritage and architecture in the country: the Information System for Architectural Heritage and the Photographic Documentation Archive.

Nossa Senhora da Saúde Shrine

The “first reference to the invocation of Nossa Senhora da Saúde (Our Lady of Good Helath) dates from 1599, in which according to tradition, a great plague spread in Sacavém, and next to the chapel, initially dedicated to Saint Andrew, an image of the Virgin with the child was found when a ditch for the burials was being dug. In 1652, the original construction was demolished and remade at the expense of the parishioners and was done so again after the earthquake. Inside, from a single nave the walls are lined with polychrome tiles of white and green, arranged in diamonds; the high altar, in gilded carvings of baroque taste, is home to a late-medieval image of the patron saint.

"Camino de Santiago"

The itinerary known as the “Camino de Santiago” (Way of St. James) dates back to the 9th century and is part of a set of religious itineraries that lead believers to special places, the so-called holy places. This Path, of undeniable cultural and patrimonial value, is a network of European routes that converge to the cathedral of Santiago in Galicia, Spain, where according to tradition, lays the tomb of the Apostle. In Portugal the so-called “Camino Português” (Portuguese Way) initiates one of its many paths in the Cathedral of Lisbon, descending through the neighbourhood of Alfama, Campo de Santa Clara, Santa Apolónia, Xabregas, until reaching the riverside area. The route continues on alongside the Tagus River until reaching the mouth of the Trancão River. In Sacavém it crosses the river and goes along its right bank towards the lowlands, following the right bank of the Alpriate stream towards Vila Franca de Xira. This itinerary is properly signposted, in some sections it coincides with the Paths of Fatima.

The Trancão River

The Trancão river next to Sacavém was very deep as Manuel Severim de Faria testifies «… There is this strand of deep grass when it flows into; so much so that ships of many tons can enter it, (…) the width is not much and this strait passes through a barge (…) The River narrows into the land (…), and on both parts of the riverside its surrounded by very fresh farms, and many marines (…)». The crossing of the Trancão River was safeguarded by boat, because there was no bridge, and along its banks, inside the lowlands, the saltpans made use of its saline water. In the book “From the Factory that Dies to the City of Lisbon”, the Portuguese humanist, Francisco de Holanda, mentions the ruin of a Roman bridge. The river crossing has long been carried out by boat. The House of Bragança annually leased the toll of the crossing to the boatmen of Trancão. Constant complaints about the high prices of taxes led to the issuance of a regiment to establish the fair price for the crossing of the river in 1628.