World Heritage Photos

Monastery of Alcobaça

The Monastery of Alcobaça is situated in the town of Alcobaça, about 96 km north from Lisbon. The monastery was the first wholly Gothic building in Portugal. The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese king. It was built in the period 1178-1223. Once built, the king gave the Monastery of Alcobaça to Bernardus of Clairvaux, founder of more than 70 Cistercian monasteries. During the reign of king Manuel I a new sacristy was built in the Portuguese Manueline style. The Monastery of Alcobaça was also enlarged in the 18th century. The church of the Monastery of Alcobaça is the largest built church in Portugal in the Middle Ages. The Flamboyant-Gothic carved tombs of King Pedro I and his beloved Inês de Castro in the transept of the monastery church are the most wonderful medieval tombs in Portugal. The Sala dos Reis (Kings Room) is the decorated with blue ceramic tiles. The large kitchen is fully tiled. The impressive chimney is supported by eight wrought iron columns. The water basin in the kitchen contained water brought by a system of canals. In 1834, with the dissolution of the monastic life in Portugal, the monks were ordered to leave the monastery. Today, the Monastery of Alcobaça is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and one of the most important historic destinations in Portugal. The Monastery of Alcobaça gained the status as an UNESCO World Heritage in 1989.

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Monastery of Alcobaça - The façade of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Afonso Henriques, the first...

The façade of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Afonso

Henriques, the first Portuguese king. It was built in 1178-1223 and was the first Gothic building

in Portugal. In later years, the monastery was continuously modified and expanded. Once built,

the king gave the Monastery of Alcobaça to Bernardus of Clairvaux, a French Cistercian abbot.

The monastery church houses the most wonderful medieval tombs in Portugal.

  1. Monastery of Alcobaça - The façade of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Afonso Henriques, the first...

    The façade of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Afonso

    Henriques, the first Portuguese king. It was built in 1178-1223 and was the first Gothic building

    in Portugal. In later years, the monastery was continuously modified and expanded. Once built,

    the king gave the Monastery of Alcobaça to Bernardus of Clairvaux, a French Cistercian abbot.

    The monastery church houses the most wonderful medieval tombs in Portugal.

  2. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The immense central nave of the monastery church. The church of the Monastery of Alcobaça is...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The immense central nave of the monastery church.

    The church of the Monastery of Alcobaça is the largest built church in Portugal in

    the Middle Ages. The central nave is twenty metres high and gives the church an

    enormous gracefulness, it is the largest built nave in Portugal in the Middle Ages.

     The side naves are also twenty metres high.

  3. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The tomb of King Pedro I is supported by sculpted lions.  The tomb of King Pedro I and the tomb of...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The tomb of King Pedro I is supported by sculpted lions. 

    The tomb of King Pedro I and the tomb of Inês de Castro are located in the transept

    of the monastery church. The tombs are decorated with sculptures showing scenes

    of his life and the story of their tragic love affair. Inês de Castro was the true love of 

    Prince Pedro. His father King Afonso IV ordered her death.

  4. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The tomb of Inês de Castro is supported by sculptures half beast half monk. The tombs of King Pedro I and...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The tomb of Inês de Castro is supported by sculptures half beast

    half monk. The tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro are in the Flamboyant-Gothic style.

    The sculptures showing scenes of the story of their tragic love affair.  When Pedro became

    king of Portugal, he had exhumed the body of Inês from her grave, forced the entire court

    to swear allegiancy to their new queen and kiss the hand of the corpse of Inês de Castro.

  5. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro in the transept of the the Church of Alcobaça are the...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro in the transept of the

    the Church of Alcobaça are the most wonderful medieval tombs in Portugal. The tombs are

    facing each other, so when the Day of Resurrection will arrive, the first face they would see

    would be the face of each other. On the marble tombs is inscribed: Until the end of the world.

    The life of Inês de Castro is immortalized in several plays, poems and operas.

  6. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The18th century Sala dos Reis, the Room of the Kings. The walls are decorated with 18th century blue-white...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The18th century Sala dos Reis, the Room of the Kings.

    The walls are decorated with 18th century blue-white azulejos, Portuguese tile work,

    depicting the hisstory of the founding of the Monastery of Alcobaça and the life of the

    famous Cistercian abbot Bernardus of Clairvaux. The Room of the Kings houses the

    statues of practically all the Kings of Portugal.

  7. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The courtyard garden is planted with orange trees. The open-arcaded cloister is one of the largest...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The courtyard garden is planted with orange trees.

    The open-arcaded cloister is one of the largest medieval Cistercian cloisters in Europe.

    Later, a second floor was added to the cloister. The first architects of the Monastery of

    Alcobaça are unknown, the design of the monastery was based on the Clairvaux Abbey

    in France. The Monastery of Alcobaça was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1989.

  8. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The courtyard garden and the Cloister of King Dinis, also called the Cloister of Silence, Claustro do...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The courtyard garden and the Cloister of King Dinis, also called the

    Cloister of Silence, Claustro do Silêncio. The courtyard garden of the Monastery of Alcobaça 

    is planted with orange trees. During your visit, you will be rewarded with the sweet smell of

    orange blossom in the courtyard garden of the Monastery of Alcobaça. The Monastery of

    Alcobaça was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1989.

  9. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The lavabo is a the water basin, it is richly decorated with beautiful bas-reliefs in the Renaissance...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The lavabo is a the water basin, it is richly decorated with beautiful

    bas-reliefs in the Renaissance style. The hexagonal lavabo is situated in the Gothic fountain

    house, here the monks washed their hands before entering the refectory, where the monks

    ate their meals. The lavabo is situated in the Claustro do Silêncio, the Cloister of Silence.

  10. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The cloister of King Dinis, also called Claustro do Silêncio, Cloister of Silence. The cloister of...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The cloister of King Dinis, also called Claustro do Silêncio, Cloister

    of Silence. The cloister of King Dinis is the main cloister of the monastery, it was a place for

    meditation and reading. The Portuguese name of  the monastery is Mosteiro de Santa Maria

    de Alcobaça, it is one of the most important historic destinations in Portugal. The Monastery

    of Alcobaça gained status as an UNESCO World Heritage in 1989.

  11. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The impressive chimney of the kitchen. The kitchen is fully tiled. The chimney is supported by eight wrought...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The impressive chimney of the kitchen.

    The kitchen is fully tiled. The chimney is supported by eight wrought iron columns.

    The water basin in the kitchen is an example of the ingenuity of the monks, the basin

    contained water brought by system of three canals, the water came from a tributary

    of the River Alcôa. The channels supplied fresh running water and also fresh fish.

  12. Monastery of Alcobaça - Monastery of Alcobaça: The huge chimney in the centre of the kitchen. The interior walls of the kitchen and the chimney are...

    Monastery of Alcobaça: The huge chimney in the centre of the kitchen.

    The interior walls of the kitchen and the chimney are completely covered in white glazed tiles.

    It is said that in this large kitchen an ox could be spit-roasted. The kitchen is situated between

    the refter and Monk's Room. The Monastery of Alcobaça gained the status as an UNESCO

    World Heritage in 1989.