Seminário de Santa Teresinha – Raposeira, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

Established in 1928 and burnt down in 2020, this theological college was once a highlight of a small village outside of Porto, Felgueiras. Belonging to the Congregation of the Mission, Seminário de Santa Teresinha was used to train Vincentian priests from 1928 to 1967. From 1967, upon the cessation of its function as a college, the building was used as a retirement home, a logical transformation considering the number of rooms located along large corridors. In 1984, the retirement home closed down, and the building fell into private hands. The structure was supposed to be upgraded and turned into a hotel, but the plans became mired in bureaucracy and never materialized. 

Adjacent to the college is a neo-Manueline chapel, which is the easiest point of access to what is left of Seminário de Santa Teresinha. Part of the chapel’s roof has collapsed, but the beautiful neo-Gothic arches are still clearly visible. Opposite the main altar is an elevated choir, with the balustrade still in place. Most of the stained-glass windows have been either damaged or completely destroyed, but there are still a few intact near the altar. Brazilwood, or Paubrasilia, was used to build the main altar, two side altars, and the pews, all of which are still in the chapel. The bright red tint distinctive of this hardwood is still evident, but rain trickling down from the broken roof is accelerating the decay process.

From the back of the chapel, it is possible to access part of the college, but it requires climbing through rubble and broken glass. An opening at the side leads to a set of external stairs that connects to the second floor, where some sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and other rooms were spared by the fire. The corridor on the second floor comes to a sudden halt upon approaching the collapsed section. The college used to have long hallways named after saints, and the plaque of “Corredor de S. Vicente” is still clearly visible in the rubble through an opening on the second floor.

Know Before You Go

Be sure to ask the people living in the adjacent building for permission to visit since the entrance to the chapel is located on their property. 

The listed address (on Rua do Burgo) will get you close to the seminary, but the building itself is located on a small, unnamed side street just beyond on the same side of the road. 

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