Estrela Basilica

Lisbon, Portugal

The Estrela Basilica is a former carmelite convent built by order of Queen Maria I of Portugal, as a fulfilled promise for giving birth to a son (José, Prince of Brazil). The official name of the church is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Construction started in 1779 and the basilica was finished in 1790, after the death of José caused by smallpox in 1788. The Estrela Basilica was the first church in the world dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The huge church has a giant dome, and is located in a hill in what was at the time the western part of Lisbon and can be viewed from far away. The style is similar to the Mafra National Palace, in late baroque and neoclassical. The front has two twin bell towers and includes statues of saints and some allegoric figures.

A large quantity of grey, pink and yellow marble was used in the floor and walls, in intricate geometric patterns, one of the most beautiful in European churches. Several paintings by Pompeo Batoni also contribute to a balanced design. The tomb of the Queen Mary I is on the right transept. A famous nativity scene made by sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro, with more than 500 figures in cork and terra cotta is a major attraction to visitors.

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Founded: 1779-1790
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Leli A (2 years ago)
Beautiful church. The park in front of is precious. Good place to stay in peace.
nick cef (2 years ago)
One of the more elaborate and beautiful churches in Lisbon. Slightly away from the more touristic area, but well worth seeing. Be sure to take a stroll around the park/garden facing the church.
Jessica August (2 years ago)
We lucked out and caught the sunset from the roof of the Basílica and we were the only people there! The woman who we paid 3€ to was sweet and unlocked the door for us to go up the spiral stairs to the top. The bell rung just as the sun was setting...truly a magical moment in Lisbon!
Susan Ramos (2 years ago)
One basilica is more impressive than the next. The art, and detail in all the sculptures is just incredibly unbelievable. The collections of art is as impressive as in any of the museums, for free!
Maheen Nusrat (3 years ago)
I loved being on top of this roof. No one was there so we had the roof to ourselves. Ticket was 4€ per person. The church itself is not as beautiful when you have seen some of the more exquisite churches in Europe, this is an ordinary one in comparison. I highly recommend going to the roof. You will of course have to climb a lot of stairs. It was 80 plus steps to climb
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

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