Alcobaça Monastery

Fatima Batalha Alcobaça
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    Add to this traditional tour the Alcobaça Monastery, a UNESCO heritage site that is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

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Alcobaça

The Alcobaça Monastery is one of the first foundations of the Cistercian Order in Portugal. The foundation of the monastery was part of the strategy off Afonso Henriques,  the first king of Portugal. In this way he consolidate his authority in the new kingdom and promote the colonisation of areas conquered from Moorish hands during the Reconquista.

mosteiro-de-alcobaca

The building began in 1178, some 25 years after the arrival of the Cistercian monks in the Alcobaça region.

Initially, the monks lived in wooden houses, and only moved to the new stone monastery buildings in 1223.

The church  construction ended in 1252. The finished church and monastery are the first truly Gothic buildings in Portugal. The last touch in the mediaeval ensemble dates from late 13th century, when King Dinis I ordered the construction of the Gothic Cloister of Silence. The church is the  largest one in Portugal.

The library

The library at Alcobaça Monastery was one of the largest Portuguese mediaeval libraries, but was pillaged by the Napoleonic troops in 1810. By 1834  Portugal dissolved the religious orders and many other manuscripts disappeared also at that time. . The remnants of the library, are kept today in the National Library in Lisbon.

The Pedro and Ines Drama

Mosteiro_de_Alcobaça_-_Refeitório

Here in the church lays the tombs of Ines de Castro and Pedro I. Inês was a Galician noblewoman born of a Portuguese mother. She was the lover  of King Peter I of Portugal.

The circumstances of her relationship with Peter I, and her murder, at the orders of the King Afonso, Pedro´s father are just the beginning of this drama.

After his father dead, Peter’s started a bloody revenge on Ines material killers, at the same time he  forced the coronation of Ines exhumed corpse in a formal ceremony. This legend made Inês de Castro a frequent subject of art, music, and drama through the ages.

Today, the  Monastery is a main historic touristic attraction together with the nearby Batalha Monastery.

 

 

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