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Destinations Portugal



Right in the center of Porto, next to the Clerigos Tower, the beautiful building of the old Jail and Court of Appeal is were you can find the Portuguese Photography Centre.

This institution seeks to collect, process and safeguard the national archival and photographic heritage.

In one of my last visits to the Invicta city I got to know it and found a place full of memories of Porto and Portugal.

In this article you will know the history of the building, the exhibits and all the information you need for a visit on your next trip to Porto. Also some of the images gathered ­— because, after all, we are talking about photography.


Portuguese Photography Centre exterior

Portuguese Photography Centre exterior

When entering the Portuguese Photography Centre you’re entering an old jail and courthouse, built in 1767.

The building, designed by architect Eugénio dos Santos, took almost 30 years to be built and became a Jailhouse and Court of Appeal, whose features of construction and finishes can still be seen today.

The prisoners were spread over three floors, according to the crime they had committed, social status and their economic power. From the ground floor — worst, humid, with little light —, to the third floor, aimed for people of “higher condition”.

In addition to the thick granite walls, the double bars and iron doors, the feeling of a jailhouse comes up when we enter the prisoner’s courtyard, the main hall surrounded by cells.

Chambers remain austere, cut today by the life brought by photographs displayed on the walls.

The old jail was disabled after the April Revolution in 1974, having been until then an example of the judicial architecture/prison of the Estado Novo.

In this place passed some well-known Portuguese names as Camilo Castelo Branco and Aurélio Paz dos Reis.


The Collections


Beyond the temporary exhibitions and annual workshops, the Portuguese Photography Centre has permanent exhibitions.

In the António Pedro Vicente Centre you’ll find a repository of cameras from the XIX century until today.

The daguerreotypes cameras (old photographic process to secure sensitized plate images obtained in the darkroom) to current disposable machines, through the bellows cameras, revisiting the “empires” of Kodak, Leica and Polaroid, this place will take you in a journey through the world of photography equipment.

Please note that during this year, the Centre is doing maintenance works and access to some rooms may be conditioned. See the website for more information.


Useful information

View to the outside

View to the outside

As said earlier, the Portuguese Photography Centre is in the building of the old Jail and Court of Appeal of Porto, close to the Clerigos Tower, in Largo Amor de Perdição (name of one of the most popular books of Camilo Castelo Branco – ironic, no?!).

You can contact the Center by phone +351220046300 or email

And now the best part: admission is free!


Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.




  • Sandra

    Been there last year and loved it! Totally geeked out at this place!

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment. It’s a great place. 🙂

  • Oluwatobi

    Hi, nice story and interesting place to visit as a traveller. I look forward to a day I will sight the Portuguese photography center

  • LeAnna

    Pretty awesome to meld history with art! Normally I’m not a huge “museum” type of person, but this sounds like an amazing place to appreciate photography along with a really cool building!

  • Shane

    Portugal looks like an amazing destination for so many reasons. Here’s yet another gem!

  • I am in love with Porto! Unfortunately, I missed the Portuguese Photography Centre when I visited last October. Hopefully, next time . . . .

  • Tamara Elliott

    Cool review- would love to visit Portugal, sounds like there’s soooo much to see! (Great pics by the way!)

    • Marlene Marques

      Thanks, Tamara! 🙂 If you have that chance, Portugal will amaze you!

  • Natalie Deduck

    You made me travel back to Porto!!
    Such good memories from Invicta city!!! My husband and I didn’t visit the Portuguese Photography Center, shame on us… Or maybe it’s one more reason for to go back!


    • Marlene Marques

      For sure, Nat. Every excuse is good to go back to Porto! 😉 Cheers and thanks for the comment.

  • Sara | Belly Rumbles

    Ohh I want to visit. Photography is a passion of mine and this would be so fantastic to see. Portuguese Photography Centre is on the list if I am in the area.

    • Marlene Marques

      Thanks for the comment, Sara. When you visit, tell me what you thought of it. 🙂

  • Carly Moore

    Woow!! I love that admission is free! It looks like a great place to check out, I may add this to my list for future things to do!

  • Brianna Simmons

    Definitely adding this for when I maketo Porto (finished off with sampling some port afterwards of course.)

  • Meg Jerrard

    As photography buffs, this sounds right up our alley. Fascinated with old cameras 🙂 And love that it’s housed in such a historical building too.

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