Churches

Churches

Churches, Cathedrals and Monasteries in Portugal

Ermida de Santo António do Alto
Ermida de Santo António do Alto
Paulo Moreira

A steep climb up to the highest point in Faro will bring the visitor to the Hermitage of Santo Antonio do Alte, a small church dedicated to St Anthony.  The saint most usually referred to as St Anthony of Padua was actually born in Lisbon and for this reason he has a special place in Portuguese religious sentiment.  In Portugal he is considered to be the patron saint of lost things, of unmarried men and women looking for a spouse and of the newly married.

The church building is believed to have been built in the 15th or 16th century, with significant alterations made in...

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Igreja de Santo António de Lagos - altar
Altar - Igreja de Santo António
Lacobrigo | BY-SA

The church of Santo António in Lagos is one of the finest in the whole Algarve. Dating back to 1707, and then re-built after the Great Earthquake of 1755, it stands as a fine example of the Baroque style of architecture. However, what really sets the church apart is that it has one of the most breathtaking interiors of any of Portugal’s many beautiful churches. Such is the quality of this lavish interior that the church is classified as a National Monument.

The church is dedicated to Saint Anthony, who was born in Lisbon...

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Igreja de Santa Maria - Lagos
Igreja de Santa Maria
Kolforn (Wikimedia)

The Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria (Saint Mary's Church) in Lagos has been a place of worship since 1498, and continues to be a vibrant local parish church. The original building is thought to have once had a hospital attached but almost all of what you see today was rebuilt in the 19th century. 

The church was extended at various times over the centuries, and suffered significant damage in the Great Earthquake of 1755, after which it needed rebuilding. The whitewashed exterior has two bell towers, Doric columns and a sculptured,...

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Arco do Repouso and Hermitage - Faro City Walls
Arco do Repouso and Hermitage
Concierge.2C | BY-SA

The Ermida Nossa Senhora do Repouso (Hermitage of Our Lady of Rest) is a small chapel with a Baroque-style façade. The building we see here today was mainly built in 18th century under the sponsorship of the Queen.  A notable feature of the church is that it is built into the Arco do Repousa, one of the ancient Arabic arches of the defensive walls of Faro's Old Town.

Legend tells that King Afonso III rested here in 1249 after expelling the Moors from the city and that he experienced a vision of Our Lady.  From...

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Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Pé da Cruz - Faro
Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Pé da Cruz
Nol Aders | BY-SA

The Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Pé da Cruz (hermitage of Our Lady at the Foot of the Cross) is Largo do Pé da Cruz (formerly Largo do Poço dos Cântaros), a little way away from Faro's other sights. 

The original chapel was built here around 1644 but was almost completely destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1755.  The understated, whitewashed Baroque style building we see here today was built in 1861. 

The Roman Catholic church contains a single altar, dedicated to Our Lady. There are some very nice gilded wood...

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Igreja de São Domingos, Lisbon
Igreja de São Domingos, Lisbon
Jacek Plewa | BY-SA

Lisbon’s Igreja de São Domingos church, in the Baixa district, has played a key role in many of the city’s tumultuous historical events.  It has seen earthquakes, fires, pogroms as well as royal weddings and other historic ceremonies.  Today there is a palpable sense of history, and as well as having a vibrant congregation. This place draws in tourists who come here to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and soak in the sombre atmosphere of this unique, if slightly eerie place of worship.

The original church was consecrated...

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Silves Cathedral
Silves Cathedral
Lacobrigo | BY-SA

Silves' Cathedral (Sé Catedral de Silves) was built in the 13th century on the site of the Moorish Grand Mosque, just beneath the castle.  Although much of the building was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, it was rebuilt and is thought by many to provide one of The Algarve’s best examples of Gothic architecture.

Inside there are tombs of local bishops and dignitaries, as well as tombs of some of the Crusaders who fought here against the Moors all those years ago.

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Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa
Igreja de Santo António
Miss Quarrel | BY-SA

Saint Anthony is Lisbon’s main patron saint and this church, dedicated to his memory is thought to have been built on the exact spot where he was born in 1195.

The church, which is found between the Baixa and Alfama district, was built in the Baroque-Rococo style and the exterior bears a closer resemblance to a theatre or grand civic building than to a Catholic church.  There is thought to have been some kind of chapel here since the time of the saint’s death in the 13th century.  However, the structure we see today was...

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Igreja do Memoria
Igreja do Memoria
Valugi | BY-SA

The elegant Baroque Igreja da Memória was built on the orders of King Jose I in 1760 as a gesture of thanksgiving for having survived an assassination attempt two years earlier. The location of the church marks the exact spot where the failed attempt on the king’s life took place.

Literally translated as the Memorial Church, the building has a striking white marble exterior with a number of lovely neoclassical features, including a large, white dome.  The interior of the church is a pleasing, if a rather plain, mix of white marble and gilt. A tomb inside the church is the...

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Convento da Nossa Senhora da Arrábida
Convento da Nossa Senhora da Arrábida
Diogoworld | BY-SA

Set among the pine covered hills of the Serra da Arrabida this complex of 16th century building was originally a Franciscan monastery. The site covers around 25 hectares and contains a number of buildings, shrines and woodland.

Founded in 1542 by a Castilian monk, Friar Martinho de Santa Maria, the convent was built on land owned by the Duke of Aveiro - D. João de Lencastre. This particular site was chosen not only for its lovely views over the Arrabida Hills but because it was where a vision of the Virgin Mary riding a...

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