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The Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa
The Paço Ducal of Vila Viçosa is an important monument located in the Terreiro do Paço of the Alentejo village in the district of Évora. It was for centuries the headquarters of the serene Casa de Bragança, an important noble family founded in the 15th century, which became the reigning house in Portugal, when on December 1, 1640, the 8th Duke of Bragança was acclaimed King of Portugal (D. João IV) and later would give rise to the Casa de Bragança-Saxe-Coburgo-Gota.
Vila Viçosa became the seat of the important duchy of Bragança when D. Fernando (1403-1461) succeeded his father, becoming the 2nd Duque de Bragança, in 1461. In fact, the 2nd Duke of Bragança had received from his grandfather, the Constable of the Kingdom, D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, the title of Count of Arraiolos, so when he arrived in Duque, he did not want to change the planes Alentejo by the Paço Ducal de Guimarães.
Thus the Bragança settled in Vila Viçosa, in the primitive Paço do Castelo. However, his son, also D. Fernando (3rd Duke of Bragança), was executed in 1483, by order of D. João II, accused of treason, and the family was exiled to Castile, where they only returned in 1496, after the death of the King. Once the Duchy was rehabilitated, the 4th Duke, D. Jaime, did not want to inhabit the Paço do Castelo, as it was linked to his father’s memory, having a new palace built, on the site called Reguengo, that is how the magnificent Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa began to be built.
During the reigns of D. Luís and D. Carlos, frequent visits to the Paço Ducal were resumed, with the requalification works being seen throughout the 19th century with the aim of offering greater comfort to the royal family during annual venatory tours. The implantation of the Republic in 1910 led to the closure of the Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa, which, as expressed in the will of D. Manuel II, reopened in the 1940s, after the creation of the Casa de Bragança Foundation.