Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães

Braga, Portugal

The Monastery of St Martin of Tibães was the mother house of the Benedictine order in Portugal and Brazil, and it is known for its church's exuberant Rococo interior.

The first information about a monastic community in the regio dates from the 6th century. The Monastery of Tibães was founded around 1060, and its feudal rights were granted by Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal, in 1110. During the Middle Ages, after the Kingdom of Portugal became independent, rich and vast properties in the North of the country came into the Monastery's possession. However, due to the extensive reconstruction work carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries, there are no architectural remnants from this early period.

In 1567, the monastery became the mother house of the Order of Saint Benedict for Portugal and the colony of Brazil, with the first general gathering of the Order in Tibães in 1570. In the first half of the 17th century, with the ruined condition of the old monastery and the vast resources at their disposal, the monks began the radical rebuilding that gave origin to the ensemble that exists today. The works began with the refectory and cemetery cloisters and the church, which was built between 1628 and 1661 in Mannerist style by architects Manuel Álvares and João Turriano. By the beginning of the 18th century the monastery's new wings were finished, including the Gate House, the Dormitory, the Guest House, the Chapter House and the Library.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the monastery was a site of considerable artistic activity and had an enormous influence in the Baroque and Rococo art of Northern Portugal and overseas colonies. In the years 1757-1760, architect André Soares designed the main altarpiece and the woodwork of the triumphal arch of the main chapel, as well as the pulpits and lateral altarpieces, all of which are landmarks in Portuguese Rococo art. The gilded woodwork was sculpted by famed José de Santo António Vilaça. Many statues in the church are by the hand of another celebrated sculptor, Cipriano da Cruz.

After it was sold at auction in 1864, the Tibães Monastery and its surrounding areas fell into decay and ruin. A great part of the ensemble, including the refectory cloister, was destroyed in a fire in 1894. In 1986 the Monastery became state property, and an extensive recovery project was begun that continues to this day.



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Founded: 1060
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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User Reviews

David Garcia (2 years ago)
Incredible place to visit! My favorite in Braga by long shot! Gardens are beautiful for some long walks in the nature. The place is filled with history! There are not enough words to describe it!
Miguel Caneda (2 years ago)
It is an amazing opportunity to visit a monastery where you can even think that you like live.
Silvia Ninova (2 years ago)
Lovely monastery of São Martinho de Tibaes. It's huge with a lot of exsebition and outside area as well. Most of the monastery is renovate in proprietary way. There are green and red path for outside walk. The green one is around 50 minutes and the red one around 1:40 minutes. It's worthy to go and see the lovely nature for both pat's. There are smaller stairs similar to Bon Jesus but still unique and one of the kind. Beautiful lake, orange ? trees and grapes all around the borders. If the weather is nice, you can spend more than a half day.
João Afonso (3 years ago)
It is surely an extraordinary and obligatory stop to visit while in Braga. The visit exceeded all our expectations. We have been amazed with how the monastery has been rebuilt from the complete ruins. Not only the walls and decorations have been restored, but the atmosphere itself, so that while walking along its quiet long corridors, looking at lovingly restored cells and beautiful chapel, you can almost tangibly feel the presence of the long gone monks. The gardens of the monastery are full of fruits, herbs and different scents that create a really nice atmosphere. If you are a local or part of a volunteering association and bring proof, the ticket is free. Also, the employees there are friendly and helpful with anything you need. Please do not miss this place when in Braga!
Sander Kamps (3 years ago)
Visiting the monastery has been an unique experience for us. Never before have we been able to stroll through a monastery so freely. Surprisingly, there were no attendants nor other visitors ( visited in Oktober). As a result, we could admire the buildings, rooms, furniture, old agricultural tools and the old church organ without interruption. There is a lot to see here. The monastery and its surrounding area is huge. Using the supplied map it was easy to visit all the rooms and gardens and read about the history and use of the place.
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