Bragança Headquarters

The new headquarters of the King Afonso Henriques Foundation, located in the historic centre of the city of Bragança, is part of a building recovered by the Town Council whose existence over the years has served noble purposes.

The first literary reference to the building appears in the first half of the 14th century as the Church of San Juan Bautista, one of the parishes of Bragança. As Luís Alexandre Rodrígues points out "The building, of modest dimensions, has a bell tower and atrium. Inside, there is a single nave. Next to the arch of the Chancel were the altars of Saint Catherine and Saint Sebastian. In the body of the Church there were still two chapels: on the Gospel side there was Nossa Senhora da Consolação (Our Lady of Consolation) and on the Epistle side there was the Santo Nome de Jesus (Holy Name of Jesus)".


Built by María Pires de Morais, a Bragança native and descendant of a noble family, it would become the property of João Salgado de Vasconcelos, Domingo Lopes Nogueira, abbot of Mofreita and Bernardo Batista de Fonseca y Sousa, of the Order of Christ, nobleman of the Royal House and superintendent of the Bragança Stud Farm.


 As the Abbot of Baçal mentions, "one of the obligations of the Abbots of San Juan was to perform the Holy Week services with the help of six priests". The change of the seat of the Bishopric from the city of Miranda do Douro to Bragança, implying a new religious organisation of the city, determined that, in January 1768, Bishop D. Frei Aleixo de Miranda Henriques transferred the church of the parish of San Juan Bautista to the seat of the Cathedral. This decision caused the closure of the church and the state of abandonment to which it was condemned from then on.


On November 12, 1902, the small chapel was sold by Bernardo Sepúlveda to the Bank of Portugal for R $ 500.00 to install its headquarters there, and the land adjacent to the chapel, bounded by wall, was later purchased from the City Council. price of 267,000 reais. The adaptation work on the building (1903-1904) was carried out by Bernardino de Sousa and the architect Adães Bermudes, who gave it a new layout. The Bank's headquarters remained there for almost 20 years, until it was transferred to Rúa 1º de Diciembre and later to the Solar de los Veiga Cabral (property of the nobleman Sá Vargas), today restored as the Graça Morais Contemporary Art Centre.


Acquired by Bragança City Council from António Manuel Pires Meireles and Maria Irene da Mota Pires, by public deed on 14th April 1989, the building was restored to house, until 2003, the Local Technical Office (GTL) with attributions in the urban area, the archaeology office of Bragança City Council and the Parish Council of Santa Maria until 2009.


In 2009 the building was extensively rehabilitated by Bragança City Council, who wanted to maintain the main façades of the building and the traditional architectural elements evident in the entrance hall and in some of the building's ceilings. In addition, there were the original doors of the Caudales of the Banco de Portugal, inside which the Library of the King Afonso Henriques Foundation will be installed.


The Bragança City Council transferred the property to the King Afonso Henriques Foundation for the installation of the Portuguese headquarters. The headquarters were officially inaugurated on 17 June 2009 by the President of the Republic, Professor Aníbal Cavaco Silva and the then President of the Foundation, Professor Arlindo Marques Cunha.