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Igreja de São Vicente de Fora

  • Attractions
  • São Vicente 
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Igreja de São Vicente de Fora
© Lydia Evans / Time Out

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, laid the foundation stone for the first church of St Vincent 'Outside' - that is, beyond the then city walls - hardly a month after taking Lisbon from the Moors in 1147. He was fulfilling a vow to construct Christian houses of worship on the sites where Portuguese soldiers and northern European crusaders lay buried. In 1580, Portugal's then ruler King Philip II of Spain decided to start from scratch and brought in his own architect, Juan Herrera (builder of the Escorial). With Italian architect Filippo Terzi, Herrera designed a new church in Italian mannerist style. It was inaugurated in 1629, but was severely damaged in the 1755 earthquake, when the main dome and roof collapsed on a crowd of worshippers. The big draw are the cloisters, richly decorated with early 18th-century tile panels, some illustrating La Fontaine fables. Inside there's the royal pantheon of the Braganza family, the last dynasty to rule Portugal. The figure of a weeping woman kneels before the twin tombs of Dom Carlos I and Crown Prince Luís Filipe, shot by assassins in 1908.


Lg de São Vicente
Church free. Cloisters €4; €2 reductions; free under-13s
Opening hours:
Church 8am-1pm, 2.30-5pm Tue-Sat; 8am-noon Sun
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