Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Church

Guimarães, Portugal

The beginnings of the Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Church date back to the monastery dedicated to the Saviour of the World, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Apostles, which was founded at this location by the Countess Mumadona Dias in the year 949 AD. Little remains of the original construction although a Romanesque chancel dating from the second half of the twelfth century and originating from the main church portal is preserved in the Alberto Sampaio Museum.

The arches of the cloister and the portal of the Chapter Hall, a work of excellent constructive technique, are testimony to Portugal's finest Romanesque-Mudéjar ensemble.

The invocation of Our Lady of Oliveira arose after 1342, with the greening of an olive tree in the border square, although the area was already an important pilgrimage hub to venerate an image of Santa Maria - the same one that was worshipped by D. João I on the eve of the Battle of Aljubarrota. Having won the battle, and in fulfilment of the King’s promise, the building was remodelled. Work continued until at least 1413, becoming a landmark of Gothic architecture in northern Portugal. The large window in the upper half of the main facade is integrally dedicated to the genealogy of the Virgin. In the altarpiece of the main chapel is an ancient image of Our Lady of Oliveira.

The building also includes Manueline elements, especially the bell tower, which was rebuilt by the Prior D. Diogo Pinheiro in 1513, and in which is the Burial Chapel of his parents. At the end of the 17th century, King Peter II ordered the main chapel to be enlarged, his coat of arms can be seen in the vault; from the same period is the 17th-century chancel with neoclassical backrests, another of the monument’s highlights, along with the altarpiece of the High Altar (dating from the second half of the 18th century), the silver altar of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, and the large baroque canvases, attributed to Pedro Alexandrino, that adorn the walls. The building underwent modifications in the 19th and 20th centuries.In 1801, against the will of the population, the local council dug up an olive tree that had for years occupied the space in front of the church.



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Founded: 949 AD
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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seucarro. pt (4 years ago)
Rui Sarmento (4 years ago)
The occupation of the site originates in a pre-Romanesque monastery, founded by Mumadona Dias in 949. For the protection of this monastery, a fortification was built that preceded the current Guimarães Castle. At the beginning of the 12th century, this monastery would give rise to the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria de Guimarães, one of the most important and richest religious institutions in the country in the Lower Middle Ages.
Oleg Naumov (4 years ago)
Igreja Nossa Senhora da Oliveira or Church of Our Lady of Olives as splendid monument of Portuguese gothic. King João I of Portugal and Algarve (1357-1433) donated that church his armor and gambeson he used in the Battle of Aljubarrota where on August 14, 1385 he and his Constable Nun'Alvares Pereira (1360-1431) having tiny Anglo-Portuguese Army won the most incredible victory for entire Portuguese history over French and Castilian Army supported by Portuguese Collaborators. Later he replaced the armor by the silver but gambeson you still can see in Museum of Alberto Sampaio. Visitors are allowed to take non commercial photo without flash light.
K M A Samad (5 years ago)
Peaceful place. I love the place.
Doris Pethig (5 years ago)
It's one of the important site in the city. For the Portugues are important it's the Centers of the Catholic faith. This church is not the only one in Guimaere there is many churches in the city.
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