Portugal, Fall 2012

Monasteries:  Alcobaça,Tomar & Batalha

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini

Three important monasteries, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are in the valleys north of Lisbon.  Their histories tie them to the kings of Portugal.  Though they were founded as early as the 12th century, building continued for centuries.  Over time, they suffered - being pillaged by Napolean’s troops or looted when the religious orders were expelled in 1834. 

Alcobaça dates back to 1148 when King Afonso Henriques, to show gratitude for promoting the crusades, founded the monastery and gave it to Bernard of Clairvaux. It was the first Gothic church in Portugal and is the largest at 327 feet.  It was built by the 999 Cistercian monks who lived there. The royal tombs include those of Pedro I and Inês de Castro.

The Sala dos Reis was a 18th century addition to Alcobaça and its azulejos illustrate the history of the abbey.  The kitchen, with its enormous central chimney, is also from the 18th century.

Tomar was a Roman site that was granted to the Order of the Knights Templar after the reconquista in 1159.  They built a castle, convent and an original temple that was modeled on Jerusalem’s 8-sided Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  The knights came to services on horseback.

The pope dissolved the Knights Templar in 1314 and King Dinis arranged for his Knights of the Order of Christ to take over Tomar.  Prince Henry the Navigator was the Grand Master and it was a center for overseas explorations in the 15th century.

A 1510 cloister window is a famous example of Manueline-style ornamentation with natural and marine motifs.

The Mosteiro da Batalha commemorates João I’s victory in 1385 that established Portugal’s independence from Spain.  It took over a century and 15 architects to build and is considered to be a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic and Manueline art.

Batalha’s Capela do Fundador has the tombs of João I and his queen, Philippa of Lancaster and their children under an octagonal lantern.  The Claustro Real combines the architectural styles most successfully.

The photographs were taken with Leica cameras, the M9 and M8.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.  We can be contacted via e-mail at fogler.mancini@sbcglobal.net.   Our home page is http://www.fogler-mancini-photos.com/Home/Fogler-Mancini_Home.html

February 4, 2013                                                                                                                                  wgfm

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