Arouca, Europe, Portugal

It’s All in the Details – Our Lady of Mercy Church in Arouca.

January 21, 2014
Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Sometimes, the beauty of something lies in its simple details.

Take for instance, Our Lady of Mercy Church in Arouca, Portugal. At first glance, you see a quaint and pretty 16th century church not unlike other ones you’d find throughout the country.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

In fact, this example of religious architecture is often overlooked as most people head over to the grand and rather ostentatious Santa Maria de Arouca Monastery instead.

Our Lady of Mercy Church

Those who skip seeing Our Lady of Mercy Church (Igreja da Misericórdia in Portuguese) are missing out. Just look at what you see when you step inside …

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed when you first walk into this church. So much is happening all at once: the tile mosaics, the paintings, the bright colours, the geometric patterns.

Where do you start? What do you look at first?

You’ll need a moment to take it all in but once you do, you’ll start to appreciate the details and want to linger for a while.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Looking up at the ceiling, there are several paintings of biblical scenes depicting the Passion.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Some bright floral patterns etched onto aged wood.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Moorish influences pervade in the intricate tile work – even in a Christian church.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

Igreja da Misericórdia de Arouca

As I mentioned in my previous food-filled post about Restaurant Casa No Campo, Arouca is worth a visit should you be staying in Porto – it’s only about a one-hour drive away from the city.

Just think about how you can have a delicious Portuguese dinner that will require you to break out those buffet pants you secretly own!

You can then walk it off by going for a hike at the nearby Geopark and touring the town’s religious monuments like Our Lady of Mercy Church.

Getting There

I was unable to find an exact address, so I used the one for the monastery instead but it’s fairly close and no more than a 2-3 minute walk from there.


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Our Lady of Mercy Church
*Disclosure – My time in Arouca was complimentary, courtesy of Porto and the North. Any opinions expressed about my love for tiny churches big on details are entirely my own. 

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14 Comments

  • Reply PRico Blogger January 26, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Gorgeous pictures a wonderful place to visit i love it.
    PRico Blogger

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Thank you! The details inside this church are astounding.

  • Reply Nancy D. Brown February 21, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Beautiful church. Your photos of this Portuguese church are lovely.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments Nancy! Once in Europe, it’s actually easy to grow tired of seeing all of these churches but I found something quite special about this one and it’s always stuck out in my mind.

  • Reply Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries February 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Damn, that place is so jam packed, a bit overwhelming, but I really like the details of it all.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Devlin, ha ha! You’re very right. There’s a lot happening all at once. I think the quirkiness of this particular church is what attracts me to liking it so much.

  • Reply Dean February 22, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Certainly some interesting interior details. Very colourful.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

      For sure, Dean! Quite the place I think.

  • Reply Mary @ Green Global Travel February 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    There is a lot of detail in the church. It is beautiful. The pictures are great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you Mary! It’s such a special and almost unknown place that deserves way more visitors. 🙂

  • Reply Frank February 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    wow, lots of details! Always love the Portuguese tiles though.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Yeah, crazy right? Me too – the details and patterns are so beautiful.

  • Reply Jennifer March 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    There is definitely a lot going on it that church. It looks beautiful though. The tile work really surprised me in Portugal.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Yes, the church is gorgeous and quite the find. I’m so happy to have had that experience. The tile work found all over Portugal is exquisite, there’s even a tile museum in Lisbon!

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