With its stone-brick façade and crenelated clock tower looming over the lively plaza of Largo da Oliveira, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira appears more like a castle than a church. Inside, the church is notable for its ornate 18th-century altarpiece, the striking silver altar of the Capela do Santíssimo Sacramento and the exquisite neo classical choir stalls, but it’s biggest claim to fame is its unique history.
Founded in the 10th century, the church takes its name, which means ‘Church of Our Lady of the Olive Branch’ from an ancient legend in which Wamba, the elected King of the Visigoths, refused to accept his royal title. Angry, he threw an olive branch to the ground and declared that he would accept the crown only if the stick began to sprout. Naturally, an olive tree bloomed and today the Padrão do Salado monument, located just in front of the church, marks the spot - a grand Gothic arch, sheltering a lone cross.
The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira is located in the historic center of Guimarães and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am to 12pm and 3:30 to 7:30pm, and Sundays from 9am to 1pm and 5 to 8pm.