Lisbon’s Oldest Shop Has Been Around For Four Centuries
It’s a unique case in longevity. Casa das Vellas Loreto has been standing since 1789. It’s now celebrating its 230th anniversary.
This shop has no competition and nothing compares to it - Caza das Vellas Loreto (Rua do Loreto 53/55) is visited by thousands of tourists a year and just as many Portuguese, who don’t resist its charm, its smell, the colours, and the shapes of the candles.
Each season is a reason to experiment with new colours and shapes in Caza das Vellas Loreto.
Lisbon’s oldest shop was inaugurated on the 14th July 1789 - the day of the Storming of the Bastille in France - with two torches on the outside that helped illuminate the street. Long before electricity. In the 18th century, a visionary from the Trás-os-Montes region, Domingos Sá Pereira de Mello, founded the store. From Paris, he had brought the idea to fabricate candles with bees’ and vegetable wax.
Today, the sixth generation of the family, Luís, Margarida and Maria Sá Pereira, still hone the tradition and the artisanal method, always betting on the diversity of shapes and colours. Some of these candles come in the shape of the fruit of the season or animals, always in a very diverse and attractive colour range. There are also seductive aromas, such as tomato leaf, green tea, honey, lemon, heather, magnolia, and coffee, among many more.
Run by the same family since 1789, tradition has always been kept.
This shop, the oldest in the capital, is a great trend follower. The shop windows dress up for Halloween, Christmas, Easter and many other happenings in the calendar. There is no passing by without taking a photo or two, be it of the inside or the outside.
Caza das Vellas Loreto's windows are a great attraction in Old Lisbon.
On the inside, behind the aged counter and windows, away from the public eye and photo taking is the factory where everything is still produced the old way, though some of the processes have been adapted to modern day techniques.
A shop for the country to be proud of, it was distinguished by the Lisbon City Hall programme Lojas Com História (Shops With History).
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