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Monastery of Alcobaça

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The Monastery of Santa Maria d’Alcobaça in the small town of Alcobaça, is Portugal’s largest Gothic monastery and a very impressive one.
It was placed on the world heritage list in 1989 and never ceases to amaze.

The Monastery of Alcobaça’s construction started in the first half of the 12th century and was ordered by king Afonso Henriques after he was proclaimed first king of Portugal in 1139.
The monastery is thus linked to the start of the monarchy of Portugal.

Alcobaça was given to the Cistercians by Afonso Henriques  in recognition of the victory of
Santarém (1152) and is a prime example of Cistercian Gothic architecture.

Inside the monastery are the famous and most impressive Gothic tombs of Inés de Castro and Dom Pedro (Peter I). Inés de Castro and Dom Pedro had a passionate love affair which lasted  until her death. The affair started before the death of his wife, Constanza and lasted 16 years,
Inez’s murder was ordered by the father of Peter I father, Afonso IV, who refused Peter marriage to Inez causing the couple to live together in secrecy.
The refusal and assassination where out of Political and strategic reasoning.

The affair has inspired many great novels and films. The building, it’s history,  magic and magnificence, the love affair and it’s many implications will probably inspire many more.

Read more about the monastery of Alcobaca on the Unesco website.

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Monastery of Alcobaça

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