Fodor's Expert Review Mosteiro de Alcobaça

Alcobaça Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

Like the monastery at Mafra, the Mosteiro de Alcobaça was built as the result of a kingly vow, this time in gratitude for a battle won. In 1147, faced with stiff Muslim resistance during the battle for Santarém, Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, promised to build a monastery dedicated to St. Bernard and the Cistercian Order. The Portuguese were victorious, Santarém was captured from the Moors, and shortly thereafter a site was selected. Construction began in 1153 and was concluded in 1178. The church, the largest in Portugal, is awe-inspiring. The unadorned, 350-foot-long structure of massive granite blocks and cross-ribbed vaulting is a masterpiece of understatement: there's good use of clean, flowing lines, with none of the clutter of the later rococo and Manueline architecture. At opposite ends of the transept, placed foot to foot some 30 paces apart, are the delicately carved tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro.

The graceful twin-tiered cloister at Alcobaça... READ MORE

Like the monastery at Mafra, the Mosteiro de Alcobaça was built as the result of a kingly vow, this time in gratitude for a battle won. In 1147, faced with stiff Muslim resistance during the battle for Santarém, Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, promised to build a monastery dedicated to St. Bernard and the Cistercian Order. The Portuguese were victorious, Santarém was captured from the Moors, and shortly thereafter a site was selected. Construction began in 1153 and was concluded in 1178. The church, the largest in Portugal, is awe-inspiring. The unadorned, 350-foot-long structure of massive granite blocks and cross-ribbed vaulting is a masterpiece of understatement: there's good use of clean, flowing lines, with none of the clutter of the later rococo and Manueline architecture. At opposite ends of the transept, placed foot to foot some 30 paces apart, are the delicately carved tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro.

The graceful twin-tiered cloister at Alcobaça was added in the 14th and 16th centuries. The Kings Hall, just to the left of the main entrance, is lined with a series of 18th-century azulejos illustrating the construction of the monastery.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Praça 25 de Abril
Alcobaça, Leiria  2460–018, Portugal

262-505120

www.mosteiroalcobaca.pt

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: €6 (free 1st Sun. of the month). Combined ticket €15 with Batalha monastery and Tomar convent

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