• Monastery of Alcobaça

Visit: 7th December 2016

31499005375_58666a6344_b

This was our third Portuguese monastery in two days and we were starting to develop ‘monastery fatigue’ (a related condition to ‘Gothic cathedral fatigue’ – both common maladies for WHS visitors). So it was again only Dad and I who looked around this site, in Alcobaça, central Portugal (Mum and Joe went shopping).

31352581062_f97c1a671f_b

The monastery was built in the 12th century under early king Alfonso I on land that had been laid waste during the battles against the Moors. The Cistercian monks who were given stewardship of the area were to become adept at turning the land back to productivity and also at building an efficient, modern institution for the 1,000 brothers who were to live there.

31127911960_2bd4efa300_b

The kitchen is a practical but impressive room at Alcobaça. This enormous oven was used to cook six cows at a time. The monks also installed running water that fed huge sinks to do the washing up in.

30657961104_7f5d799a61_b

The style of Alcobaça, exemplified by the nave, above, is of the austere Cistercian Gothic. It couldn’t be more different to the monasteries we had visited the previous day at Tomar and Batalha. The intent was to avoid the trappings of ornate decoration then so popular with ecclesiastical builders so that the monks could focus on the things that really mattered. It feels more like some sort of Protestant denomination building, though of course Protestantism hadn’t been invented when Alcobaça was constructed.

31461359366_8f96888e10_b

Advertisements

One thought on “• Monastery of Alcobaça

  1. Pingback: • Cultural Landscape of Sintra | Tom's World Heritage Site travel blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s