Portugal is one of the oldest and most Christian countries in Europe and it’s a fantastic destination to explore churches and monasteries. Today’s blog is all about the most famous monasteries in Portugal. Let’s kick off with the most amazing and most popular – Jeronimos Monastery in Belem.
The first time I visited Lisbon I was astounded by Jeronimos Monastery in Belem. If you are visiting Lisbon then do see if you can stop by Jeróniomo’s monument. It is an impressive site with some wonderful cloisters that are worth exploring.
The Jerónimos Monastery in Portugal is the best place to visit for religious, historical and cultural reasons. It’s not just about its beauty though, Jerónimo’s convent has an intriguing story behind it too.
Jerónimo’s monastery, which was designed by him as well, has carvings on its exterior from his favourite saints: Anthony Abbott; Francis Xavier and John Evangelist to name but three! Jeróniomo’s tomb can be found in what used to be the sacristy at Jeronimos Jerônimo’s convents – a beautiful marble masterpiece created by Francisco de Arruda Pereira! I think you will agree this monument really captures Jeróniomo’s spirit and character – a true renaissance man.
Santa Maria da Devesa Monastery in Coimbra
Santa Maria da Devesa Monastery in Coimbra. It was founded by Queen Urraca Friómida, who is buried here. The Monastery has a vast library with more than 3000 volumes and the Sepulchre where King Afonso Henriques rests. There are also interesting vestiges like the Royal Chapel (Capela Real) that retains conquistador elements from the 16th century as well as sculptures of Saint Bernardine and Saint Anthony Abbot made by Aleijadinho.
The Monasteries at Batalha – 5 Monastic Buildings
This National Monument of Portugal includes five monastic buildings which were built during different historical periods: an early 14th-century Franciscan Church; a 17th-century Baroque conventual church; 18th-century cloisters (both ruined); presbytery and chapter house from the second half of the 19th century. It also has three statues representing St Francis , St Vincent and Lady Monastery of Batalha.
The Monasteries at Alcobaça – The Monastic Buildings
There are four monastic buildings that were built in different historical periods: a 12th-century Cistercian Gothic church; an 18th century Baroque monastery (ruined); 19th-century cloisters, and an early 20th century sacristy. There is also the legendary tomb of King Dinis I from 1279 AD which was found under one of the chapels during excavations for new cellars in 1933. You can visit this National Monument by guided tour only with advance booking or on Sundays when it’s open to visitors without charge as part of their cultural program.
The abbey church of Alcobaca is the best preserved example of Gothic Monastic architecture in Portugal. The church is richly decorated with 15th century Flemish tapestries, paintings and sculptures including a statue of Saint Vincent ferrer that was carved by Joaquim Machado de Castro who would later carve the Monastery’s facade depicting Christ in Glory.
Convent of Christ Tomar
The Convent of Christ Tomar is a monument and museum in the town of Tomar, Portugal. Founded in 1160 by King Dinis I (reign 1279-1325) as a monastery for the Dominicans, it became one of the most important medieval buildings in Portugal and had significant influence on Portuguese architecture during centuries. In 1983, UNESCO classified Convento de Cristo among World Heritage Sites under Conventual Franciscan Order Monastery Churches of Alcobaça , Batalha and Elvas
Public Transport: There is no public transport available. The convent can be reached by car from the A13 autoestrada or on foot from the town center. Parking information at reception. Walking distance: 30 minutes (approx). Driving time: 20 minutes (approx).
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Alcobaca Monastery and Batalha Monastery
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