Ranging from the small chapels to the large cathedrals, the temples tell the story of Portuguese art and architecture. Moreover, the beauty that they transmit also expresses the spirituality of a people and their own history.
Even before the founding of the nation, the first Christian recon quest movements allowed for the restoration of important dioceses, established during the Swab Ian and Visigoth presence, extending their existence until our days. Some relevant examples are the dioceses of Braga, Porto, and Lamego at Porto e Norte de Portugal or Coimbra at Beiras. In the foundation of the kingdom of Portugal itself, the Church played a crucial role in helping to strengthen its identity, namely through the monastic religious orders of Cluny and Cister. Besides its obvious importance in the religious and cultural development, its influence in the social, political and economic organization was quite relevant, combined wit the epic of the military orders in their struggle to define the frontiers and in the fortification of the nobility and royalty.
Often eclectic, influenced by the evolution of different artistic styles, most Romanesque temples are located in the North of Portugal, where the hardness of the granite is well matched with their decorative divestiture. Further down and heading south, the ancient Cathedral of Coimbra (Beiras) is a key example of this style, along with the Cathedrals of Lisboa, both with characteristics of medieval fortresses.
It is a spectacular monument, with marvelous halls and cloisters, an odd kitchen with enormous chimneys and a fountain where two rivers flow into one another. It constraxts with the simplicity of the church where Com Pedro and Dona Ines are buried, face to face and waiting for the Last Judgment in the most perfect, Gothic sculptured tombs. The former were the characters of an

impossible love that ended tragically with the execution of Dona Ines ordered by Dom Pedro's father.
The Monastery of Alcobaca, with its square Cistercian plan, is one of the first Gothic monuments, even if its façade was later changed to Baroque.
The Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria in Batalha, also given world heritage status by UNESCO, is the confirmation of a promise for military victory, during the period when independence was at stake. Its intricate stonework evolved from the Gothic until its final version, the Manueline. This is a place where you must stop during your visit to Portugal, to see the Monastery's interiors illuminated by splendid stained glass windows.
Despite the existence of beautiful Renaissance churches, such as the Capela da Conceicao on Tomar or Mannerist ones, such as the Church of Sao Vicente de For a in Lisboa, it is undoubtedly the splendor of the Baroque and its transition to the Rococo that are seen in most of the temples and altars of Portugal, going from the Convento de Mafra, the Bom Jesus de Braga and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios at Lamego (with their magnificent stairways) - both in Porto e Norte de Portugal, the region with the greatest density of religious monuments in Portugal - to the Episcopal palace of Castelo Branco, passing through the Igrejas dos Clerigos and Sao Francisco in Porto. It is impossible not to succumb to the perfection of the filed wooden objects, the silver altars, the sculptured pieces or the original panels of azulejos.
Apart from the neoclassicism and already in the 20th century, the magnificence of the Basilica of Fatima almost vanishes next the modest apparition chapel, a place of faith, where so many people meet for prayers.
In Portugal and on the occasion of the great religious festivities, this meeting of people almost transforms small churches into huge cathedrals. The patron saint and the renowned hospitality of any passerby will watch over you during your visit.


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