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“Excellent guide and thought provoking ploace” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Santa Clara Monastery

Santa Clara Monastery
Funchal, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
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Ranked #15 of 49 Attractions in Funchal
Type: Historic Sites, Cultural
Attraction details
Cairndow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Excellent guide and thought provoking ploace”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Down the hill we enter the massive gates of the convent, and are admitted behind the grilles which, pre 1890, demarcated the public part of the building from the enclosed nuns’ living and worship area. Today only 15 sisters remain, and they are free to mingle in society and to serve as they wish. But the reason the convent was built immediately is, presumably, that something had to be done with the “spare” women. The younger daughters with no dowry, the widows, the unwanted. All over Europe these buildings are a reminder that most of the women who lived in them over the centuries did not enter with a vocation, but for lack of anywhere else to go. What must these little girls in their early adolescence have thought as the inner doors were locked behind them-for the rest of their lives. Lots of gruesome paintings on the walls of suffering martyrs and tortured Christs, interspersed with idealised pictures of the Virgin Mary. Ha! But the gentle old guide today was herself one of the 15 contemporary sisters, and she exuded pride and love for her own place. mind you, the Order is no longer enclosed, so taking the veil no longer means entering a prison. Above all it is now a choice, not a sentence.

Visited December 2012
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103 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Swansea, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“A glimpse into the past”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

The tour which only cost 2 Euro, was lead by a very elderly nun. She showed us through the ancient church and parts of the monastery, we saw some religious art dating back to the 15th Century whilst some of the most recent things were from the 17th Century.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“a jewel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

very interesting tour, spoke perfect English and for the one French speaking person in our group everything was repeated in perfect (i believe!) French.

Visited December 2012
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Wales
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Peaceful and tranquil.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

It's a steep walk up the hill from Funchal but well worth it. You step back in time. The guides speak several languages and are informative and interesting.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Secrets unveiled”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012 via mobile

For 2 euros a guide showed us around the buildings in the compound. From the street it looks like nothing but do take the time for the small guidede Tour - you Will see many original art pieces and prayer rooms. Children seem to be welcome too, and it is not too Big or boring for Them.

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