Barcelos, Portugal, is located in the north of Portugal, in the province of the famous wine-growing region of Minho. Although the city is an important centre for pottery and textile production, most Portuguese just know it as the place of the rooster.
Barcelos has traditionally evolved as a settlement along the St. Jacob's Way, an important Catholic pilgrimage route to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. It is not surprising therefore that the legend that has gained a place for the city in most people's memory is connected to a pilgrim on the way to Santiago. According to this legend, he rested for a night -- after a long day of walking -- at a local landowner's house; the man accused the pilgrim of having stolen his silverware. Soon, the villagers joined forces against the poor pilgrim, who had no friends in Barcelos to help him out of his difficult situation. He was going to be hanged for his alleged misdeed the next morning. He was faced with the judgement at one of the feasts of the landlord and the poor pilgrim pointed to the table and said, "If I am innocent, this is rooster is going to crow when I am to be hanged." The next morning, just as he was led to the gallows, the rooster suddenly rose from the plate of the landlord and started crowing, thereby saving the poor pilgrim.
To celebrate the legend -- which is amongst the most important ones in the Portuguese culture -- the city of Barcelos is literally inundated with rooster statues of all shapes and sizes and there are rooster exhibitions that take place from time to time as well. Of course, the most popular souvenir from the place is the Portuguese-style, black rooster statue.
When walking through Barcelos, you can easily imagine why this city serves as the setting for such a legend; the city is like a Medieval fairy-tale place, with its quaint little streets; the cute stone castle; the arched Galician-style stone bridge; and the Thursday market, during which people arrive from all over the region gather to exchange their goods. At these times, the town turns into a cavalcade of colours, smells, and sounds, and you can get an insight into the lives of the village people from this corner of the country.
And best of all, you do not have to constrain your visit to a day trip, as despite Barcelos' small size, there are options for hostels in Barcelos, Portugal, even though you are advised to check the opening times, as sometimes the accommodations might be closed for the winter season.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Barcelos hostels. Welcome.