Monastery of Alcobaça
It's in Santa Maria de Alcobaça Church that the love between D. Pedro and D. Inês de Castro rests. The history of this monument, though, began well before that, about ten years after the foundation of Portugal, which makes it the oldest of the four World Heritage Sites in the centre of Portugal.
The Monastery of Alcobaça is the most ancient of the four World Heritage Sites in the Center of Portugal, and one of the finest and significant examples of Cistercian Architecture in Europe. Apart from its magnificent façade, it keeps in its core – an elegant and outstanding church - the wonderful secret of the love between D. Pedro and D. Inês de Castro, enhanced by the influences that shape the monument’s architecture into an exceptional Gothic masterpiece. However, the significance of Alcobaça Monastery goes beyond this tragic love story, since, in 1153 – only ten years after the foundation of Portugal -, D. Afonso Henriques offered a land of about 44 thousand hectares to the Cistercian Order, making this abbey one of the most relevant cultural, religious and ideological centers in Portugal at the time. The monument its one of the most well-preserved Cistercian monasteries worldwide, where the Church stands out, with approximately one hundred meters. Both the impressive hydraulic infrastructures and medieval monastic buildings found here are testimonies and products of several significant periods of the history of humanity. While following the silent steps of the Cistercian monks who once lived in this exquisite place made by stone and light – from the Cloister of Silence to the Chapter House, from the Refectory to the impressive kitchen, the Monks’ Room and Dormitory – one can also discover a surprising history and its important role in the foundation of Portugal as a nation. A monument of indisputable beauty and purity, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989.