Academic year




Curricular year


Cidália F. Silva

Intervention Location

Vale do Lima

The legend as a constructive element of the territory : the Lima Valley

Maria Araújo

This research begins with the potential that legends, present in communities and their ethnography, can have in understanding the built territory and its architecture. The evidence provided by them are a portrait of the history, customs and beliefs of the populations, and, upon closer examination, can justify chosen locations for the foundation of settlements and construction of buildings.

The choice of narratives in the Lima Valley region for an in-depth study finds in the Christian religion and its associated construction, a strong connection, for its community deeply rooted in beliefs, as well as for its rurality that carries over the centuries the popular festivities of the little chapels, the legends, the miracles of the saints and the processions. This relationship of legends with the place can be mapped and represented, creating bonds in time and space that, without reading the narratives, would never be feasible to realize. For this purpose, three legends were selected, more specifically, the Legend of Ermelo’s Monastery, the Legend of Saint Abdão and the Pegadas do Santinho Legend, located in three municipalities of the region, Arcos

de Valdevez, Ponte de Lima and Viana do Castelo, respectively, which are directly associated with the construction of buildings.

It is through a common method of analysis across all narratives that this research is developed. At first, an oral and documental collection of the legends is made, followed by a recognition of the place and history in which it is inserted. Finally, an analysis of the legendary path is made with an association between legend and territory, creating new maps and relationships between the various places revealed by the narratives.

This work aims to show that the territory, more than a physical and tangible element, is a human place and a sum of experiences where man has put his intentions and built them alongside evolution and socioeconomic transformations. Legends can be used as cultural enrichment, but also as a relevant knowledge concerning the territory. This aspect can be important for the way we intervene in the territory and make architecture.