Convent of the Capuchos

Sintra, Portugal

The Convent of the Frairs Minor Capuchin, popularly known as the Convent of the Capuchos, is a historical convent consisting of small quarters and public spaces located in the civil parish of São Pedro de Penaferrim.

The convent was founded in 1560, consisting of eight monks that arrived from the Convent of Arrábida. Between 1578 and 1580, the Chapel of Santo António was constructed, along with the erection of a wall around the convent, under the orders of Cardinal Henry.

In the 17th century, a painting/panel of São Pascoal Bailão, by Vicente Carducho, was completed, while in 1610 several mural paintings on the exterior of the Chapel of Senhor Morto. In 1650 a marker was erected to identify the road to the convent.

As a result of the extinction of the religious orders in Portugal, in 1834, the convent was acquired by the second Count of Penamacor, D. António de Saldanha Albuquerque e Castro Ribafria (1815-1864). It remained in the possession of this generation until 1873, when it was acquired by Sir Francis Cook, first Viscount of Monserrate.

In the first half of the 20th century, the site was acquired by the State, although little was done until the middle of that century. It was bought by the Portuguese State in 1949. The General Directorate of Buildings and National Monuments began a series of public projects to preserve the site starting in the 1950s.

The Capuchos Convent became part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra World Heritage Site, classified by UNESCO in 1995.

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Address

N247-3, Sintra, Portugal
See all sites in Sintra

Details

Founded: 1560
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Heather J. (3 months ago)
I went on a foggy rainy day and the environment was magical (although a clear day would also be nice because then you could give up for the ocean view). As others have said, there is no signage saying what you're looking at. The audio guide brings the place to life and is a must. It's such a small space and already worn down, so I'm worried about the impact a lot of tourists would have. But the day I went, I was the only person. The monastery exudes tranquility - a perfect place for meditation and contemplation.
Karl Riber (4 months ago)
We initially balked at the price of 22 euros for a family with a 10 and 13 year old, given that it is a small site, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to Portugal. It's a completely unique place, unlike anywhere I have seen anywhere in the world. There are several fascinating rooms to see and the kids in particular loved exploring the complex and playing games. On an afternoon in January we had the place to ourselves, which added to the atmosphere. The entrance section was closed for repairs but this was essentially just one room and it could be seen from elsewhere anyway.
Dean Harris (4 months ago)
Fairly odd place, desperately needs to be looked after unfortunately. Worth a visit still.
Laura Smith (6 months ago)
We thought the Convent was awesome. There was hardly anyone there at the time we visited so it was lovely to wander around at our leisure and soak up the solitude.
Julie Hirtzel (6 months ago)
Wow! I loved our visit here. It was my favorite place in the Sintra area. Take the time to stop. Even though it is not one of the most advertised places. It is quiet, peaceful, beautiful, and interesting. It is fun to squeeze through the small quarters of the monks. It is quite interesting how they used cork throughout as decoration and to make it quiet. This is really a beautiful place. Five stars from me.
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The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

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In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

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