Via Sacra (Deserto dos Carmelitas Descalços)
The Via Sacra of Buçaco, that is almost three kilometres long, consists of twenty distinct Stations of the Cross, corresponding to those of the Imprisonment and the stations of the cross in the Passion, and was opened to the public on the initiative of Manuel Saldanha, rector of the University of Coimbra, in 1644.
In the beginning, the Stations of the Cross were represented by a single wooden cross and only later, in 1694 and 1695, were these stations replaced with chapels, by order of the Bishop-Count of Coimbra, D. João de Melo.
The Stations of the Cross were represented by paintings, later by rough figures of very poor quality and only at the end of the 19th century the idea of reviving the Via Sacra was put into place with perfect figures commissioned from Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro.
However, his sculptured scenes by the artist were never exhibited in Buçaco, and the images that illustrate the Via Sacra currently are from 1938, by the sculptor Costa Mota (nephew). The figures are life-sized and made of fired clay and these confer balance and artistic merit on the chapels representing the Passion.