Monastery of Arouca

Everyone who tries to reach the heart of Arouca doesn’t arrive at the destination without crossing the greatest granite building of its nature, in Portugal. People say that Arouca was born and raised in the shadow of these walls. Not these walls, actually, since the early convent was built in another place, in the 10th century. Like any other land with a monastery, Arouca saw its economy, agriculture, gastronomy, culture, and of course, its religiosity influenced by the meaning of this building.

Benedictine till the 12th century, it began to receive the Cistercian Order until the end of the 19th century. Product of several interventions, the present building dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and has beautiful spaces to offer, such as the Cloister, the Choir and the Kitchen. Now, we open the door with the sound of the old key, to increase awareness about one of the richest museums of Sacred Art of the Iberian Peninsula. Come in. You are our guest.

The silence is only broken by the sound of the water in the fountain, at the center of the cloister. In the past, the busy nuns used to go around here. They stopped here many times to reflect, read or pray. Today, their remains lie under numbered rocks, in the same place where they used to go around, reflect and read. In this place, they found the silence that is only broken by the sound of the water in the fountain.

The quiet of the cloister becomes austere in the Chapter House. Over the remains of the abbesses, in the tile frame, flanked by two big windows, the abbess used to chair the most solemn meetings of the Monastery. The trials happened here. The future was decided here. The guidelines for the daily life were discussed here. Today, the only thing that remains is the austere silence. Over the remains of the abbesses.

At the shadow of the monumental organ, with the walls pierced by the carving and the painting, the Queen continues to chair, at the back, the fate of the Monastery, immortalized in the sculpture of Jacinto Vieira. Next to Santa Mafalda, we can see nuns carved by the same author.

The space is flooded with music that spreads over the jacaranda chairs, each one with a carved frown, one of them wearing glasses, waiting to be discovered. Separated from people by wooden frames, the nuns used to attend mass here, putting the worship books in these stands, seated or in mercy. In 1743, the organ gained voice, a voice that has been restored in order to fill the space with music.

The golden carving gains life through the whole temple, making room for the remains of Santa Mafalda. Daughter of D. Sancho I, the second King of Portugal, she rests in one of the wards of the Church. Majestic, yet discrete, she lies behind the glass of the ebony tomb, in her black garment.

Impressive and sober, the Church is opened to the outside lighting, illuminating the space and giving shape and color to the paintings, sculptures and the big golden carving. Although this is a place for meditation and praying, it is also a place of contemplation. Here, we cannot only contemplate the divine mystery, but also the wonderful and handmade creations.

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Useful information

Largo Santa Mafalda, 4540, Arouca
Aveiro, Arouca, Arouca
tue - sun: 09:30 - 12:00
tue - sun: 14:00 - 17:00
  • Latitude 40.928075
  • Longitude -8.24696083333