Church of Santa Maria de Abade de Neiva

Abade de Neiva, Portugal

In 1152, Queen D. Mafalda, wife of D. Afonso Henriques, founded in the location of Neiva a monastery, a public construction that was incomplete at the time of her death. By 1220, the church was considered a royal church and continued to be operated as one of the monarchy's churches even by 1258. The tower was completed in the 15th century.

In 1732, orders were given to repair the porch that existed over the principal facade. Two years later, work was undertaken to open-up two belfries in the tower and erect a choir. This was followed closely behind by painting of the ceilings and plastering of the walls in the main chapel and nave (in 1744). Similar public work on the walls of the churchyard was also undertaken in 1758. But, by 1831, the church was already in ruins.

Beginning in 1904, the first work to rebuild or reconstruct the church began with the front wall, which was in a state of ruin, while in the interior the wood floors were replaced.


The church is located in a rural community, situated in an elevated area on the flank of a hilltop overlooking the national roadway. It is encircled by churchyard, parochial cemetery, public gardens and small, short residential buildings.

The plan consists of a longitudinal nave and rectangular presbytery, with the areas covered in varying tiled ceiling. The principal facade includes a portico without tympanium, but tall Romanesque entranceway consisting of four archivolts, supported by 8 columns with plain shaft and capitals with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic elements. Over the main door is a round oculus.

The lateral doorways also have vaulted entranceways, but more in keeping with the Gothic style. At about halfway up the walls are small, simple slits, while along the lateral nave walls are Romanesque cantilevers, with sculptures of faces, fish, animal heads (including bulls and pigs), a series of balls and a post-Dionisic shield (on the north).

In the interior is a triumphal arch with supported by two simple columns. The head of the main chapel is illuminated by Gothic window with four-lobed oculus. The walls are covered in lettering, that is almost alphabetic. Along the southern part of the church is a low, imposing tower crowned by pyramidal merlons.



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Founded: 1152
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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User Reviews

Henrique Dias (2 years ago)
Linda e tradicional igreja.
António Sant'Ana (3 years ago)
Bonita igreja Românica. Muito bem preservada. Vale a pena a visita.
Delfina Gonçalves (5 years ago)
Sempre muito bonita a minha terra
Valter Coelho (5 years ago)
Uma pérola romana em excelente estado de preservação. Das igrejas mais antigas de Portugal com uma envolvente ajardinada que merece visita.
Carlos Pereira (5 years ago)
Monumento Histórico lindíssimo com um espaço verde espectacular em seu redor.
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