Igreja e Mosteiro da Santa Cruz, Coimbra

4.6
#4 of 15 in Historic Sites in Coimbra
Historic Site Tourist Spot
The Santa Cruz Monastery, best known as Igreja de Santa Cruz, is a National Monument in Coimbra, Portugal. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the church it was granted the status of National Pantheon. Founded in 1131 outside the protecting walls of Coimbra, the Santa Cruz Monastery was the most important monastic house during the early days of the Portuguese monarchy. St. Theotonius founded this community of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra and served as their first prior. The monastery and church were erected between 1132 and 1223. The monastery was granted numerous papal privileges and royal grants, which allowed the accumulation of considerable wealth, at the same time as it consolidated its position on the politico-institutional and cultural scene. Its school, with its vast library, was highly respected in medieval times and was a meeting point for the intellectual and power elites. Its scriptorium was used for the consolidation of royal power by King Afonso Henriques, thus it was not considered strange that he decided to be buried there.Nothing remains of the early Romanesque monastery. It is known that it had only one nave and a high tower in the façade, as typical of the Augustinian-Romanesque constructions, but none of those elements subsisted. In the first half of the 16th century, the Monastery was completely renovated by King Manuel's order, this monarch having assumed the Monastery tutelage.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
356 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Your tour will likely end here and then visit the church and double back for the Church of Santiago and the Back breaker street up to the old cathedral and the university.  more »
  • Great architectural example of its time. The restoration is spot on and the location is easy to get to as the town can be a bit hilly.  more »
  • This single nave beauty, build back in 1121, is renowned for its dazzling Manueline architectural detail and there is an elaborate portico as well as a beautifully carved pulpit. Two kings are buried ...  more »
Google
  • Impressive scale and very unique pipe organ. The square outside has a nice atmosphere as well, and several inexpensive cafes.
  • Nice church in the centre of Coimbra. Great tiles inside the work.
  • Beautiful church, very well kept. First king is buried here, entry was free.
  • Really cool XXII century church. Resting place of the first king of Portugal.
  • Famous because it's where the first king of Portugal is buried

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Where to stay in Coimbra

Indulge in the medieval splendor of Coimbra by booking a hotel in the city's historical hilltop and hillside central area, which is home to the majority of its hotels and guesthouses. By staying right in the middle of the Old Town, you'll have medieval monasteries, Renaissance homes, and Baroque halls right at your doorstep. You'll also be within walking distance of the city's famed university complex. Alternatively, try staying in one of the center's youth hostels, which offer shared rooms, lockers, breakfast, and a comfortable bed at a fraction of the cost of an upscale hotel. These accommodations also give you a good base from which you can experience the city's student-fueled nightlife. To get away from the mainstream tourist center a bit, opt for a hotel or bed and breakfast in the quieter residential neighborhoods east of the university.
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