A Cock and Bull Story – Barcelos

Many, many years ago, a crime was committed in the town of Barcelos. Unfortunately, no one knew who the culprit was and this worried the locals. Not long after, a stranger entered the town, a pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela. He was immediately accused and arrested, despite his pleas of innocence. The judge ordered him to be hanged, but before his sentence was carried out, the man asked to see the judge, who was dining with friends. The accused once again declared his innocence and stated that the roasted cock on the table would rise up and crow when they hanged him. No one dared touch the cock that night and when the pilgrim was hung the cock raised its head and crowed. The judge raced to the gallows, and luckily the hanging had failed to kill the man so he was freed immediately.

Barcelos Cock

Modern day Barcelos has built its tourism based upon this miraculous cock and huge, colourful figures can be found throughout the town, as well as adorning linen, food products, as ceramics and wrought iron figures. Another attraction of the town is the famous market, held since 1412. It is reported to be one of the biggest traditional markets in Portugal and is set up on a Thursday. I consider staying in town to see it but I suspect that, as well as drawing buyers and vendors from around the region, it also attracts an undesirable element which I wish to avoid.

 

 

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I am mostly impressed by the churches of Barcelos, which are richly decorated with 18th century blue and white azulejo tiles depicting biblical scenes and representing stories which are important to the history of Barcelos.

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