- Location: 516 Mosteiro Alcobaca, Alcobaca
- Attraction type: Monastery
- Significance: UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Visiting Hours: Apr to Sept.- 9am to 7pm; Oct. to Mar. — 9am to 5pm
- How to Reach: By car or bus from all parts of Portugal
- Nearest International Airport: Pagina Raiz de Aeroporto in Lisbon
Monastery of Alcobaca, locally called Cistercian Mosteiro de Santa Maria, was among the most prosperous and prestigious monasteries of Portugal in the Middle Ages. Alcobaca Monastery and its church were the first buildings in Portugal built in accordance to the Gothic style of architecture. For its historical as well as architectural importance UNESCO in 1989 declared Alcobaca Monastery in Portugal a World Heritage Site.
Mosterio de Santa Maria at the confluence of Baca and Alcoa rivers was founded in 1179 by Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. King Alfonso built this magnificent monastery and church to express his spiritual indebtedness to Calirvaux St. Bernard who garnered warriors for the Crusades. The monks of Alobaca were the first to impart public lessons and later produced Portugal’s authoritative history in the form of books.
In Mysterio de Santa Maria the Gothic tombs of King Pedro I or Dom Pedro and his beloved Ines de Castro are of great significance. The nave featured by transverse arches on quadripartite vaults supported by columns and pillars is amazing. The Cloisters of Silence is another interesting portion of Alcobaca Monastery with finely sculptured arches.
The kitchen is remarkable with a route to the Alcoa River. Monks used this route to go fishing or cleaning. This huge kitchen was perfectly matched with a massive refectory. The Salon of Kings with sculptures of Portuguese rulers and relief of King Alfonso’s victory over the Moors are outstanding.
Accommodation and Dining
While touring Alcobaca you might accommodate yourself in Your Hotel and Spa, Pensao Coracoes Unidos, Hotel Santa Maria, and Casa de Madeira. The eateries in Alcobaca are ideal places to satisfy your Epicurean needs. O’ Telheiro serves the best codfish, chicken and lamb recipes in town. Its desserts and wines are also splendid. Frei Bernanrdo is famous for its ‘Frango a Pucara’ a local chicken delicacy. For snacks, light meals and beer O Capador is the best place to be in.
Related Links :
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/portugal/alcobaca-mosteiro-santa-maria.htm: For a detailed and comprehensive account of travel ideas in the monastery of Alcobaca, click on this link!