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“Beautiful”

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova
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$117.46*
and up
Coimbra and Tomar Day Trip from Lisbon
Ranked #27 of 92 things to do in Coimbra
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: From here you have an amazing view over the city of Coimbra. In this church the incorrupt body of Saint Isabel, Queen of Portugal, patron of Coimbra and wife of D. Dinis, the founder of the Portuguese University, rests in a silver tomb. The cloister of this monastery is the largest cloister of Portugal with an arcade and gallery. After the canonization of St. Isabel in 1625, the Monastery was started to be built in 1649, intended to provide shelter to the Clarissa nuns of the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha. In 1677, in a great procession from the former Monastery, Queen Santa Isabel’s remains were moved and placed in a silver casket in the high altar. The church was completed by 1696. A beautiful statue of Saint Isabel, that is carried in procession during the great festivities, stands at the top of the church. The baroque gilded woodwork, the paintings, the magnificent gothic stone tomb of the Holy Queen and the row of 76 chairs, among other art works are certainly worth a visit.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

The Monastery of Santa Clara a Nova is located at Alto de Santa Clara. When the River Mondego inundated the old Monastery of the Poor Claire Nuns (Santa Clara-a-Velha) founded in the 13th century, the King Joao IV authorized the construction of a new monastery on an elevated position on the La Esperanza Mountain, and this happened in 1647. The plans were made by Fray Joao Turriano, a Benedictine monk and royal engineer, and the work was supervised by Master Domingos de Freitas and his brother Pedro de Frietas. The building is in the Baroque style.

The architect Mateus do Couto constructed the chapel, which was finished in 1696. The main altar contains the 17th century crystal and silver urn containing the tomb of the Queen Santa Isabel in an incorrupt state. Her figure was made by the great Portuguese sculptor Antonio Teixeira Lopes. There are paintings about the life of Queen Santa Isabel from painters from Lisbon that date to the 18th century. The retables on the sides of the chapel are gilded and polychromed. On each side of the choir there are Gothic tombs. One is of Isabel, the daughter of Afonso IV. The other is of Isabel de Aragon, wife of Pedro, the son of Joao I. The monastery is classified as a National Monument.

1  Thank BennyMalaga
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