Church of Nossa Senhora das Salas
The Church of Nossa Senhora das Salas is an extremely popular centre of devotion to the Virgin Mary, in particular amongst fishermen. The chapel was commissioned by Vasco da Gama, who was born in Sines, close to a locale where there was a hermitage commemorating salvation of the Princess Fatassa. The primitive church was built in the 15th century, and was subject to alterations in the 16th century. From this period the Manueline doorway still exists, together with several stones with inscriptions. It has been listed as a National Monument. Every year, on August 15, a religious festivity is held, including processions on land and at sea.
You cannot afford to miss the “Treasure of Nossa Senhora das Salas”, a museum space inside the church itself, where jewels and liturgical instruments are exhibited, illustrating many centuries of devotion to the image of the Virgin Mary. Among the pieces on display are a large number of earrings, rings and hair ornaments, documenting the evolution of Portuguese jewellery over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the silver instruments used for worship. The sumptuously embroidered garments were among the church’s most prestigious donations, with this costume dating back to the days of Vasco da Gama’s mother, Dona Isabel Sodré. Further pieces on display here originate from other religious monuments in the municipality of Sines, some of which have already disappeared, such as the Convento de Santo António and the Ermida de Santa Catarina.