Fodor's Expert Review Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Facing a broad plaza in the oldest part of town, the Convent of Our Lady of the Conception was founded in 1459 by the parents of King Manuel I. Favored by the royal family, this Franciscan convent became one of the richest of the period. It now houses the Museu Regional de Beja (Regional Museum of Beja), and if there's one museum you visit in Beja, this should be it. It's tough to decide which is more impressive, the exhibits inside or the building itself. You walk into an ornate, gold-encrusted chapel with saints' relics, and then proceed through the convent's old cloisters covered in azulejos from the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of them comprise panels depicting scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, and there's also a section of Moorish tiles. At the far end of the second-floor gallery is the famous Mariana Window, named for the 17th-century nun Mariana Alcoforado, whose love affair with a French officer is the stuff of local legend.