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Arouca

The existence of a monastery in Arouca dates back to the 10th century, being prior to the foundation of Portugal. In 1154, the Patron Saint, handed over the Government of the monastery of S. Peter to D. Elvira Anes. A Benedictine women's religious community was formed. In the 13th century, D. Mafalda (1190-1256), daughter of D.Sancho I, second King of Portugal, receives the monastery as an endowment, and although she never professes, turns it into an administrative center of her domain, as if it were an extension of the Court. It´s owing to Mafalda, whose remains lie in the conventual Church, and who was beatified in 1793, that there was the change of St. Benedict to the Cistercian order, in 1226. The current monastic set dates from the late 17th century and early 18th century. The project of the Church and the Choir are of a Maltese acrhitect Carlos Gimac who endowed these spaces of an elaborate system of natural light. The works of Art, product of the finest Portuguese workshops and of the best artists, constitutes one of the best collections of existing monastic Art in Portugal. Most notable are the Church Choir, the Cloisters, Refectory and kitchen. In the choir an Iberian organ dating to 1743.stands out . Important also to highlight is the Sacred Art Museum, considered one of the best of it´s kind, where you can find rare works of sculpture, painting, tapestry and jewellery as well as objects of worship, vestments, and furniture.


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