The Santa Cruz Monastery, in Coimbra, was founded in the reign of Afonso Henriques by a group of twelve Canons of St. Augustine.This monastic community was indeed the most important monastic house during the reigns of the first dynasty and it marked an essential period in the creation of the Portuguese identity, contributing to the political importance of Coimbra during the foundation of the realm.
King Afonso Henriques was a permanent figure in the monastery’s life and, in the end, chose it as his burial place, a decision his son, King Sancho I would also follow a few years later. Throughout the next centuries, Santa Cruz became the seat of a great ecclesiastical territory and strengthened its position as the cultural and intellectual centre of the realm.
The monastery became increasingly important, which lead to several changes in its structure throughout History. Nowadays there’s little left from its original Romanesque structure.
The most important change, which gave the building its current appearance, was carried out during the second half of the 16th century when King Manuel, concerned about the dignity of the final resting place of the first two Kings of Portugal, decided to finance a campaign of renovation works which improved both the outside and the inside of the building.
In 2003, it was classified National Pantheon, along with Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon.📍 LocationGoogle Maps