The city of Oporto is known for its ancient buildings, its landscapes and the simplicity of those who live there. In Oporto, we can find magnificent gardens, buildings reminiscent of old times, loaded with symbolism and history. One of these magnificent and beautiful buildings is the Old Chain of Relação, a building which is situated in the heart of the historical center of this beautiful city.
In 1582, the local Court worked in the Old Town Hall and it did not have its own facilities. However, for some years was being moved from place to place for about twenty years.
Nevertheless, in 1603, Philip II ordered the building of a place that could resolve the situation in which the court and the chain was, for these institutions also did not have a fixed place to work perfectly.
Only in 1606 was fulfilled the order that Philip II had given three years before, under the direction of Inspector Manuel Sequeira Novais, and it took about three years until the work was ready to be used. Almost all the work was paid for with money coming from the remissions of exiles to Africa.
However, despite all the money spent on these works, considered exaggerated by its size, the building could not stand long. In 1752, nearly 150 years later, completely collapsed.
In 1765, the Old Chain of Relação started being erected on the same site. However, this new work began on the initiative of João de Almada e Melo, who, at the time, held the governorships of Weapons of Porto and alderman of Justices. Despite being ordered to construct in 1765, the work was completed only in 1796.
For several years, this building was the seat of the Court of Relação until recently. There were imprisoned the most illustrious names of the time, as the writer Camilo Castelo Branco, the banker Roriz, the political journalist João Chagas, among other well-known figures.
In 1988, began some restoration. In 1974 it was totally disabled because it did not have the necessary security, and all the prisoners were transferred to another jail.
After several years of neglect, there was created in 1997, the Portuguese Center of Photography.
It is one of the main buildings to visit in the city of Oporto, which marks a turning point in the history of the city, having itself a fascinating story for everything that happened inside.