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Whoever passes through Alcobaça will return - and so should you!

Alcobaça, just north of Lisbon, flourished along the Rivers Alcoa and Baça, from which it takes its name. Some 15,ooo people call it home  today.


Alcobaça owes much to Portugal's founding king, as it grew from a gift by King D. Afonso Henriques to the Order of Cister, fulfilling his promise for the victory against the Moors in the Battle of Santarém in 1147. The Monastery of Alcobaça, also known as Real Abadia de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, is one of the finest Gothic churches in Portugal.

In the great abby is a wonder of Gothic. Huge vaulting, dancing in stone - and celebrating the faith of early Portugal. The first phase included the transept and the choir.

In a second phase the ships, came the beautiful windows and the enormous rosette over the entrance. The last phase included the Cloister of Silence, the Canteen and the Chapter Hall.

But the real draw are the tombs of D. Pedro and D. Inês de Castro, of unparalleled beauty.

Resisting serious catastrophes, such as natural floods (such as severe floods or earthquakes), other human ones (such as looting and vandalism), the Monastery of Alcobaça is one of the most important surviving medieval Cistercian monasteries in Europe and a milestone in Portuguese history.

To many Portuguese, the town is also memorable from a popular song of the 1950s:

Who passes through Alcobaça
Do not stop there without going back
Try as you might
It is a memory that does not pass.
Why not ?

You do not forget easily
From its markets of grace
And its imposing monastery
Always remember
It is a memory that does not pass.

Maria de Lurdes Resende




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