Interpretive Centre of the Arraiolos Rug

The Interpretive Centre of the Arraiolos Rug is a permanent museum space at the service of the community, the mission of which is to promote the study and dissemination of the Arraiolos Rug, as well as its conservation, protection and promotion as historical, artistic and ethnographic heritage, both in its material and immaterial aspects;

  • The building housing the Interpretive Centre of the Arraiolos Rug is one of the oldest and most historic in the village, with the former Hospital do Espírito Santo having been operating there, presumably since the late fifteenth century;

  • The chapel of the Old Hospital, built in 1524, is where your visit begins and it is unique in that you are able to observe some pits from a large dyehouse that, since 2003, has been known to have existed in Arraiolos during the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries;

  • The “Subtenente Piteira Collection” is a fundamental part of the permanent exhibition at the Interpretive Centre of the Arraiolos Rug. Following the death of António Piteira in the colonial war in 1973, his parents donated a valuable collection consisting of sacred art, furniture and ceramics from the 16th to the 20th centuries to the Arraiolos Town Hall;

  • Traditionally, the production of Arraiolos rugs followed a vast artisan process. The techniques, materials, objects and know-how are all part of a legacy passed down from generation to generation by the people of the village of Arraiolos. They are the fundamental foundation that sustains the essentially artistic expression that is the Arraiolos rug as a final product;

  • Embroidered Arraiolos rugs from the 17th century to today, from Orientalism to a more locally rooted artistic expression. Classical and popular rugs that have been inspired as much by the eastern rugs of Persia and Turkey as by the genuine and sometimes innocent creativity of the designer;

  • It is this harmonious junction of elitism and popularity, this inseparable creative heterogeneity of the cultural contexts of each epoch that can be seen in each example, in each embroidered stitch, and which as a whole explains the historical evolution of the Arraiolos rug.