Serra do Pilar Monastery

Porto, Portugal

The Monastery of Serra do Pilar has been a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site since 1996 and provides an unequalled view of the city of Porto. Its construction began in 1538 and it was completed in 1670. It housed the Augustinian Friars of the Monastery of Grijo until it became occupied by the Liberal army during the Civil War of 1832-1834, during which it was damaged. The Royal Brotherhood of Nossa Senhora do Pilar, established in 1834 and, later, the Group of Friends of the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, created in 1925, helped save the monastery.

The church with its circular floor plan is unique in Portugal, as is the Cloister, which is also circular and is lined with 36 Ionic columns. It currently houses North Heritage. In the cloister, note the statue of D. Afonso Henriques, by Soares dos Reis, which is the plaster version of the one in bronze at the Guimarães Castle. It is worth taking the guided tour which includes a climb to the dome. It's a 100 steps to the circular terrace that surrounds the dome of the church, but the panoramic view over Porto is spectacular.

Serro de Pilar is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar.



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Largo Aviz, Porto, Portugal
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Founded: 1538
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Adib Majid (3 months ago)
Unique building structure and apparently this is also one of the UNESCO sites. In the evening it looks nice from the outside
Wilson Foo (7 months ago)
Monastery was closed when I arrive but the views from up there is well worth the long walk uphill. Maybe comeback in the evening to take pictures of sundown.
Olga Amara (10 months ago)
Fantastic place to visit in Porto. Monastery is closed to public, but it situated on top of the hill and the are great views from viewpoint. It is very popular tourist attraction. Metro station is JARDIM DO MORRO, line D. Must visit place in Porto.
Andre Karl Misso (10 months ago)
Good panoramic view of Porto & Gaia. Came in with an Uber from Porto, took 7 mins to Gaia.
Sanjeeta Pai (10 months ago)
A must visit place in your visit to Porto. We took the cable car from the other end and landed near it. Then walked up to see the gorgeous views of the bridge, river and Porto. We loved it so much that we visited again the next day to watch sunset. The garden view as you walk up is also lovely. And the place gets lighted up at night. The monastery as such was closed when we went but the views were well worth the trek up the incline. There is also a metro station nearby. And lots of places to eat nearby.
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The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.