A museum which was a factory
It is the oldest public museum in the country, but in the past it was a factory and home of a family of merchants.
The building began to be built in 1795 to house a factory and residence for the Moraes e Castro family, the quintessential of the neoclassical architecture that dominated the city of Oporto in that period. The interior decoration is exquisite and was made by the best artists of that epoch.
The then Commonly known Palácio dos Carrancas accommodated – even without the consent of its owners – dignitaries such as General Soult (during the French Invasions), the Duke of Wellington, General Beresford, and Prince William of Nassau. It was also the refuge of D. Pedro IV, during the war he fought against his brother.
In 1861 it was transformed into the (Royal Palace) Paço Real, to receive the kings when they visited the north of Portugal. With the establishment of the Republic it lost its purpose, but the last king of Portugal bequeathed it to Misericórdia (Church of Mercy), so that a hospital could be installed in it. Since the former Soares dos Reis National Museum (which had been operating since 1833 in São Lázaro) was in poor condition, it was transferred to the Carrancas Palace. The current museum was inaugurated in 1942.