General Information
Memorial de Alpendorada  
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  • Name: Memorial of Alpendorada
  • Typology: Memorial Tombstone
  • Classification: National Monument by Decree 16-06-1910, DG 136 of 23rd June 1910
  • Municipality: Marco de Canaveses
  • Visiting Hours: Free 
  • Entrance Fee: Free 
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : 255 810 706 / 918 116 488   
  • Fax: 255 810 709   
  • E-Mail: rotadoromanico@valsousa.pt    
  • Web: www.rotadoromanico.com   
  • Location:
    Rua do Memorial, Alpendorada e Matos, Marco de Canaveses, Porto.
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 5' 20.05" N / 8° 14' 49.71" O 
History
History
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Memorial of Alpendorada (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)The Memorial of Alpendorada, with origins that date back possibly to the 12th century, fits into a specific kind of monuments related to funeral acts or to the intention to perpetuate the memory of a certain personality; they only exist in Portuguese architecture and are also commonly known as arches, little arches or "marmoirais" (memorials).

Popular tradition considers that this Memorial stands on one of the stops or resting places of the funeral procession of Mafalda Sanches (c.1200-1256), the daughter of King D. Sancho I (k. 1185-1211) and granddaughter King D. Afonso Henriques, of who, having died in Rio Tinto, was taken to the Monastery of Arouca, where she would be buried.

However, the presence of a long sword engraved in the upper stones of the plinth that supports the arch allows us to consider the possibility of this being a funerary and memorial monument related to a member of the nobility.

It should be noted that men who were killed in duels were ecclesiastically forbidden to be buried in sacred grounds. In other words, the presence of this typical icon of nobility may indicate that the monument is a funerary expression related to an individual with a significant social status.

Chronology
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12th century - Possible dating of the Memorial of Alpendorada;

1910 - Listing of the Memorial of Alpendorada as a National Monument;

1976 - Consolidation of the foundations, general cleaning, improvements in the surrounding area and new access steps to the Memorial of Alpendorada, all done under the responsibility of the DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments];

2010 - Integration of the Memorial of Alpendorada in the Route of the Romanesque;

2015 - Works for the general conservation of the Memorial, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.

Specialities
Architecture
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The Memorial of Alpendorada, built in granite, is composed of a base with two well-cut stone rows, surmounted by a round arch made up of ten smooth voussoirs.

The ensemble is topped by a protruding horizontal double-framed cornice running along its entire length that, in turn, supports a steep gabled top, framed on both sides by two casings with hexagonal cross-sections. This arch rests on a solid parallelepipedic base with a footing, in which a double mortuary cavity is opened.

Plan and façade of the Memorial of Alpendorada (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)

We should highlight the long sword, about 120 cm long, engraved in the upper stones of the plinth that supports the arch. The design of the blade is in line with the common typology of the 11th and 12th centuries, showing parallel edges and a tip which is only slightly pronounced, thus indicating it would be essentially used for cutting.

Restoration and Enhancement
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Restoration and Enhancement of the Memorial of Alpendorada (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)Despite being classified as a National Monument, the Memorial of Alpendorada was left in ruins and standing on a space with poor visibility for decades, due to the urban transformations that took place in its surroundings. We are only able to find documented requests for its recovery from the mid-20th century onwards.

Due to the degradation it was condemned to, the City Council of Marco de Canaveses proposed, in collaboration with the Regional Tourism Committee of Serra do Marão, to transfer the monument to a more appropriate place.

Apparently, the local population didn't have the same opinion, choosing to leave it in the same place but carrying out conservation works, which included the consolidation of the foundations, general cleaning, improvements in the surrounding area and new access steps.

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Bibliography

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BARROS, João de - Colecção de manuscritos inéditos agora dados à estampa V: geographia d'entre Douro e Minho e Trás-os-Montes. Porto: Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto, 1919.

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SÃO BOAVENTURA, Fortunato de, frei; BRITO, Bernardo de, frei; BRANDÃO, Domingos de - Memorias para a vida da beata Mafalda, rainha de Castella e reformadora do Mosteiro de Arouca. Arouca: Irmandade da Rainha Santa Mafalda, 2008.

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SILVA, António Manuel dos Santos Pinto da - «Marmoiral» de Alpendurada, Marco de Canaveses: um tipo raro na tumulária medieval. In Marco histórico e cultural: actas de eventos marcoenses. Marco de Canaveses: Câmara Municipal do Marco de Canaveses, 1998.

SILVA, António Manuel dos Santos Pinto da - O Memorial de Santo António, Sta. Eulália, Arouca e os “Marmoirais” medievais: revisão da sua problemática e propostas para uma análise globalizante. In JORNADAS DE HISTÓRIA E ARQUEOLOGIA DO CONCELHO DE AROUCA, 1, Arouca, 1986 - Actas. Arouca: [s.n], 1986. Jornadas realizadas a 28 e 29 de setembro de 1986.

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