Murça is a village in Vila Real district, north of Portugal. Known for its wines and olive oil, the village preserves traces of the ancient times, maintaining the traditions of hunting, religious festivities and serving up cabrito (kid), cozido (boiled dinner) and salt codfish at the table.
In the village's main square lies the stone Porca de Murça or Pig of Murça statue and many might wonder why. It is the stuff of legend, and there is even wonderful wine named after it. Porca de Murça is one of the Douro’s leading reds and one of Portugal’s oldest wine brands having been made for more than 85 years. The name originated from a folktale from the Douro Valley. It is also found on the town coat of arms.
Says the legend that in the year 770, local hunters were faced with a fearless bear in the mountains. In times were the small village was surrounded by boars and strange beasts that stimulated hunters, this particular animal was giving them a hard time and the population was afraid of it.
One man, though, was brave enough to confront it. A strong knight, he hunted the animal until he finally caught the beast, that was after all a boar and not a bear. The hunter dispatched the boar, and the town was able to breath easy again.
Now known as Senhor de Murça, the statue was placed to honor the knight and the people who lived in the village would go there every month to place their offers for their salvation.
Great story, just it is not at all true...
The Porca de Murça is actually an ancient Celt worship statue from thousands of years ago. There are no clear of its origin stone boars, also called verracos, were common among the Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. It is assumed that these boars had a protective religious meaning, perhaps guarding livestock or as burial markers. And they are pretty common in the Tras-os-Montes, with stone boars being found in Torre de Dona Chama, Parada and Bragança.