The Holy House of Mercy of Vila do Conde (Santa Casa da Misericórdia) was founded in 1510, on the recommendation of King Manuel I in a royal letter sent in 1499. The house of the brotherhood and hospital were then installed in buildings adjacent to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, in front of the place now occupied by the Church.
Since these properties were very small, it was decided in 1525 to build, in front of the Chapel and Hospital of the Holy Spirit, the new House of the Brotherhood. The Church was built later, on land given by Álvaro Fernandes, in the place where the Chapel of St. Michael the Angel stood.
All these buildings are, or were, situated in the current Plaza Dr. António José de Almeida, still better known as the Mercy Square. The Church of Mercy, open to the public since at least 1535, was the target of a major expansion project that started on May 1st 1599, showing since then a simple and austere façade typical of the Philippine Dynasty renaissance. The portal stands out, where four columns support a straight pediment surmounted by the statues of Our Lady of the Conception and the Visitation.
It has a long, wide, single-nave floor plan and in the interior the tin-glazed tiled walls, retables and coffered ceilings stand out. The brotherhood’s house is to the left of the church’s façade, supporting the steeple arch. Its façade features elements of Manueline style, mixed with other more recent styles.
The Dispatch House dates from 1547, with a manueline style window standing out. The cross on the plaza was made in 1713, replacing an older one that was destroyed.
Address: Praça Dr. António José de Almeida – Vila do Conde