The territory that makes up the current region of Matosinhos was once divided into ancient medieval administrative divisions Julgado de Bouças and Couto de Leca which had a deep and ancient connection to the pilgrim routes leading to Santiago de Compostela. A well-documented fact since the Middle Ages. There is only one route leading to Cruzeiro do Padrão da Légua (a large stone cross) and it is from here that the pilgrim may choose to follow the “Coastal Way” turning west at the cross, or follow the “Central Way” walking towards Lugar do Araújo.
This relationship or bond shaped the cultural identity of the region, which is expressed in the legend of Cayo Carpo the “Knight of the Shells”. This story, which takes place on the beach of Bouças (now Matosinhos), has medieval origins but it was registered in writing in the 17th century, telling the story of a miraculous meeting between this knight and a boat that transported the body of an apostille on the way to Galicia. According to a popular ancient tradition, this legend explains the origins of the shell as a Jacobean symbol and the origins of the place name of Matosinhos.
Due to its geographical position, the region underwent profound changes, resulting in a much diversi ed landscape, where traditional rural areas are mixed with contemporary urban spaces.
The Way that passes through Matosinhos, was once part of the territory known as Couto de Leça that belonged to the Order of Hopitallers (also known as the Knights of Malta) between the 12th and 19th century. The Order based in the Monastery of Leça do Balio, located about 1.5 km away from the Way (camino), welcomed and provide help to the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The presence of pilgrims is well documented here, including the register of an anonymous pilgrim, whose death was recorded in the registers, to royals, such as D. Afonso II and others, who were also on their way to Santiago de Compostela.