General Information
Tower of Vilar 
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  • Name: Tower of Vilar
  • Typology: Tower
  • Classification: Public Interest Building, by Decree 95/78, DR 210 of 12th September 1978
  • Municipality: Lousada
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : +351 255 810 706 / +351 918 116 488 
  • Fax: 255 810 709 
  • E-Mail: rotadoromanico@valsousa.pt  
  • Web: www.rotadoromanico.com 
  • Location:
    Lugar da Torre, Vilar do Torno e Alentém, Lousada, Porto.
  • How to Get Here:

     

  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 17' 12.082" N / 8° 12' 36.906" W 
History
History
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Tower of VilarThe Tower of Vilar, built between the second half of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, shows the feudal power over the territory, bearing witness to the existence of the domus fortis, a fortified manor house in the Tâmega and Sousa.

The monument is difficult to date, because it features structural solutions of the Romanesque style. According to 1258’s "Inquirições" [administrative enquiries] , Sancte Marie of Vilar was an “Honra” [territory] of D. Gil Martins and his descendants, of the Ribavizela lineage.

King D. Fernando donated Vilar do Torno, Unhão and Meinedo to Aires Gomes da Silva, in 1367, and the possession of the Tower remained in the same family throughout the 15th century.

Historical Figures
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Aires Gomes da Silva
Aires Gomes da Silva was a military man of the fifteenth century. Born into a renowned Portuguese family, originating from the Kings of Leon, he commanded the troops of Porto, at the service of Prince D. Pedro, over the Crato, in the period in which the Queen D. Leonor tried to retrieve the regency and called for armed conflict.

He would have died on his way to the Cape of Good Hope, in 1500, as a result of a violent storm that caused the sinking of three vessels.


D. Gil Martins de Ribavizela
D. Gil Martins de Ribavizela (1210 - ?) was a Portuguese military of the reign of King D. Afonso III, chamberlain to that same king, from 1253 to 1264, Lieutenant of Oenela, in 1250, Governor of Sintra, from 1253 to 1264, and companion of King D. Sancho II in Toledo, Spain, until his death. He is said to be the responsible for the building of the Tower of Vilar, in Lousada.

Chronology
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13th century (second half) / Early 14th century - Original edification;

1998 - The Tower of Vilar is included in the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

2005-2006 - Construction works, at the expense of DREMN - Direção Regional dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [Regional Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments], in the scope of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

2009 - Opening of the Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque;

2011-2012 - Valuing works of access to the Tower, landscaping and parking, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.

Specialities
Architecture
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The Tower of Vilar is a monument of peculiar military and civil architecture. It stood as a fortified manor in the 13th/14th century, of Romanesque building, consisting of a Tower that preserves five floors.  

Tower of Vilar

The Tower, of rectangular plan, is about 14 meters high and is more of a symbol of feudal power than a military construction, thus representing the existence of a domus fortis, fortified manor house in the Tâmega and Sousa.

Plan of the Tower of Vilar

The building was constructed in granite stonework and features the initials of the masons. The façades have numerous crenelles and two rectangular windows or secondary woodwork.

 

Façades of the Tower of Vilar

It is also possible to observe the several levels of protruding corbels that used to be the supports for the beam framework for four stories.

Plan of the Tower of Vilar

Inside, it is possible to prove the residential function of the Tower through the niches that maximise the thickness of the walls. The fifth and final floor would correspond to the chemin de ronde surrounding the top walls, finished by a narrower wall which would support the merlons, now missing.

Plan of the Tower of Vilar

Surroundings
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In the scope of the Study for the Enhancement and Protection of the Monuments of the Route of the Romanesque of the Vale do Sousa, in which the guidelines and framework of the subsequent development of technical projects for implementation and respective works for the enhancement and protection of the surroundings were defined, the conditions considered most relevant for the preservation and requalification of the surroundings were described.

The aim of this Study is to preserve the context in which these are integrated, namely the integration of constraints on legal provisions - such as Special Protection Areas - restricting urban interventions that may endanger the integrity of the surroundings.

Surroundings of the Tower of Vilar

We also proceeded to the definition of areas and interventions of general nature to take into account in the surroundings, in order to extend the planning to a wider area and allow better circulation of tourists in the region.

Finally, the Study defined the priority interventions to be carried out in the surroundings, to allow the stabilization of the territories and, simultaneously, correct and/or create structures and supporting infrastructures.

The landscape integrity and stability of the area surrounding the Tower of Vilar deserve proper care in their maintenance, particularly regarding urban development in the more remote surroundings, in which the mistakes made in the existing buildings should be corrected.

The Study also points out the need for public toilets, the definition of a parking area and access to the platform where the monument is located.

Restoration and Enhancement
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As part of the recovery and enhancement of the property, we proceeded to the general clearing of vegetation in the batters of the monument. A chemical disinfection applied by air spraying followed.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Tower of Vilar

For the enhancement of the foundations of the Tower, blocks of grout, compatible with granite structures, were applied, and empty void spaces were filled by sliding granite pieces, with a texture and grain identical to the ones already existing, into the gaps of the vertical batters, inside and outside the foundations of the Tower.

There was the temporary replacement of the closing stones of the spans, with welding of the adjacent masonry through traditional mortar or grout compatible with granite structures.

The joints of the freestanding walls of the Tower, in the visible façades, were treated with the removal of deteriorated or inappropriate mortar and later resealed with mortar of gravel, lime, sand and stone dust. Later on, all the batters were washed with water and brush, without chemical additives. 

Restoration and Enhancement of the Tower of Vilar

For the wooden structure, eight pieces of Nordic pine laminated wood, a pavement, three intermediate and one that shapes the louver and the cover of the battlement. Inside the louver three more structures were placed to create the stair landings.

The beams of the stairs were manufactured in Nordic pine laminated wood, on which the support pads of the stairs were applied, with pieces of wood similar to the beams.

The flooring of the battlement, applied over the structure of the louver, is made of wooden floors, consisting of 4 cm thick pine pieces, with male and female to ensure greater sturdiness.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Tower of Vilar

The parts that compose the blankets and mirrors of the stairs are made of four cm thick larch wood, secured to the laminated parquet with carpenter's glue and hidden stainless steel nails.

The wooden structure that forms the louver received an exterior coating with a 2 cm thick plywood panel. Inside, 8 cm thick rock wool was applied and fixed to the beams and panels.

For the span of the main entrance, a door with two butting frames operating in pivot, an entrance platform, a new doorstep and a curtain for sealing the interior of the span.

The entrance door was manufactured in solid wood with a metal structure casing in each panel that serves as rim and frame, in which the boxes of the pivots were fixed, which, in the upper part, work inside the existing stone hinges.

Gallery
  • +Staircase of the Tower of Vilar

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  • +Staircase of the Tower of Vilar

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  • +Window of the Tower of Vilar

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  • +Corbels of the Tower of Vilar

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Know More
Bibliography

ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de; BARROCA, Mário Jorge – História da Arte em Portugal: o Gótico. Lisboa: Editorial Presença, 2002.

BARROCA, Mário Jorge – “Torres, casas-torres ou casas-fortes: a concepção do espaço de habitação da pequena e média nobreza na Baixa Idade Média: sécs. XII-XV”. Revista de História das Ideias: A Cultura da Nobreza. Coimbra: Instituto de História das Ideias da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra. Vol. 19 (1998) p. 39-103.

LOPES, Eduardo Teixeira – Lousada e as suas freguesias na Idade Média. Lousada: Câmara Municipal de Lousada, 2004.

LOPES, Eduardo Teixeira – Meinedo: subsídios para uma possível história desta freguesia. Lousada: Câmara Municipal de Lousada, 2001.

MALHEIRO, Miguel – “A intervenção arquitectónica na Torre de Vilar”. In Actas do I Encontro de Arqueologia das Terras de Sousa. Oppidum - Revista de Arqueologia, História e Património. Lousada: Câmara Municipal de Lousada. Número Especial (2008).

MALHEIRO, Miguel [et al.] – “Torre de Vilar”. In Estudo de Valorização e Salvaguarda das Envolventes aos Monumentos da Rota do Românico do Vale do Sousa: 2ª Fase. Porto: [s.n.], 2005. Vol. II.

OLIVEIRA, Ana Maria – “Ocupação senhorial do Vale do Sousa: dois exemplos em estudo”. In Actas do I Encontro de Arqueologia das Terras de Sousa. Oppidum - Revista de Arqueologia, História e Património. Lousada: Câmara Municipal de Lousada. Número Especial (2008) p. 257-281.
 
ROSAS, Lúcia (coord.) – Românico do Vale do Sousa. Lousada: Comunidade Urbana do Vale do Sousa, 2008.

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