Monastery of Santa Cruz Coimbra or the church of Santa Cruz as it is better known is situated right in the centre of Coimbra and is one of the most impressive churches in Coimbra. It is situated on the Praça 8 de Maio.
The Church is a national monument and the monastery and church where erected between 1132 and 1223 in which time Coimbra was the capital of the new born kingdom of Portugal. The first two kings of Portugal King Afonso Henriques and of his successor, King Sancho I are both burried in the church.
The monastery was granted numerous papal privileges and royal grants which aided in a considerable accumulation of wealth.
Most of the original monastery and church, built in Romanesque style typical for the period has disappeared or was completely renovated during a rebuilt in the 16th century by King Manuel’s order.
The monastic complex and the burial tombs of both kings where relocated to the main chapel where they are to this day. The kings are placed in a sculptural work created by the french sculptor Nicolau Chanterene who lived from 1485 – 1551 ad worked mostly in Portugal and Spain.
The most impressive archtectural aspect of the church are it’s main portal, built between 1522 and 1525 under Chanterene blending both Manueline renaissance with other renaissance styles and features.
Read more about the monastery Santa Cruz Coimbra on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Santa_Cruz_%28Coimbra%29