The most beautiful sacred sites in Portugal
Is Portugal a religious tourism destination? The answer is yes, many of the Portuguese historical heritage has a religious source! Could the combination of history with faith explain why are tourists so interested in visit Portugal? We already know that Portugal is famous for the miracle and Shrine of Fatima, but this country has many more sacred places and sanctuaries that you should visit at least once in your life. Let's discover all of them!
This fantastic monastery designed in the Portuguese Gothic style is the result of a promise made by King D. João I to the Virgin Mary. The future king of Portugal, defeated the Castilian armies in the battle of Aljubarrota, crucial to guarantee the independence of Portugal! The construction of this work lasted for almost two centuries, allowing it to be seen today as one of the most important Gothic monuments of the entire Iberian Peninsula. As this is a building of great historical, architectural and religious importance, it could not stay out as a World Heritage Site, a title awarded by UNESCO in 1983.
If you want to visit this beautiful sanctuary you will have to climb to the top of Santo Estevão Mount, along the way, you will have an imposing baroque staircase with almost 700 steps! The place where the Santuário da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is today was once home to a small chapel dedicated to St. Stephen. Over time, the devotion to this saint diminished and was given more and more dedication to the Virgin who was the target of prayers for those who suffered from ills. It is believed that this Shrine, built-in veneration of Our Lady of Remedies, was the author of the paintings and some Baroque works, Nicolau Nasoni, the architect who built the famous Clérigos Tower. The shrine and staircase are in a dense grove surrounding which adds mysticism to this sacred place.
Considered the largest Catholic pilgrimage center in Portugal, it is also one of the most important in the world, we are obviously talking about the Sanctuary of Fátima! This Marian pilgrimage center is dedicated to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the three little shepherds, which took place in 1917. Learn more about the miracle of Fatima!
Inside the Shrine you can visit the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Prayer Ground and also the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. This sacred place receives on average 5 million people annually, visitors who come to keep promises or who, just out of curiosity, can not resist the atmosphere of faith and belief that can only be experienced here.
The Portuguese always liked to build their religious temples in the peaks. The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, similar to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, presents a staircase that has almost 600 steps. This staircase is divided into three themes: Portico, Three Virtues and Five Senses Staircase. However, you don't need to climb all these degrees on foot, you can choose to go by car or funicular, the first funicular of the Iberian Peninsula!
Bom Jesus is not just a religious site, it is a truly romantic spot where you can explore all the activities and atmosphere around you. You can visit the cave, go on a boat trip in the small lake, have a picnic or simply enjoy the view that Bom Jesus offers over the whole city of Braga!
This sacred place played a very important role in the history of Portugal. The Convent of Christ has risen within the walls of the Templar Castle! This place starts by being the seat of the Knights Templar, and later of the Order of Christ. Many horsemen departed from here in search of new worlds to make Portugal a famous country in the Age of Discoveries. Here you will find some of the most expressive testimonies in the history of Portuguese architecture, such as the Romanesque Charola of the church, the cloister of D. João III and the famous Manueline window of the Chapter Room. The whole set is currently classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The largest medieval cathedral in Portugal is certainly one of the main attractions of the city of Évora. All made in granite is famous for the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. As it is in one of the highest peaks of Évora, it offers enviable views. This cathedral also includes the Museum of Sacred Art with a rich collection of vestments, painting, sculpture, and jewelry. You will be surprised by this superb building!
We also have a church with a history that is, to say the least, peculiar! This church was built in the name of Saint Gonçalo, the saint who is supposed to marry older women who had no opportunity to marry when were young. It is believed to have been built where São Gonçalo was buried. Today, you can enter this religious place, visit the saint's tomb and ask to get him a pair!
Apart from all these sacred sites, Portugal is also a place of passage for many pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela!