Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Salzedas
Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas
In its time, this was one of the largest Cistercian monasteries in Portugal, having been given vast areas of land in the surrounding region with the express duty of tilling and populating them.
Construction work began in 1155, immediately after the Order had been given the lands by Egas Moniz, the tutor of D. Afonso Henriques, and his wife Teresa Afonso. It was consecrated in 1255, when the complex of monastic buildings was complete.
The large church is an imposing building, standing out amongst the uniform houses of the small village that grew along narrow streets to the east of the monastery. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the church was profoundly remodelled and given the entirely eighteenth-century façade that can now be seen today, although this does, in fact, still remain unfinished. But, inside the church, it is still possible to detect some remains of the original structure. In one of the chapels in the apse, the carved stones that covered the thirteenth-century walls have been preserved in their entirety. If you look carefully, you will still be able to discover columns and capitals with Romanesque decorations. Two paintings depicting St Peregrine and St Sebastian, attributed to the sixteenth-century master painter Vasco Fernandes (Grão Vasco), and several other seventeenth-century paintings by Bento Coelho da Silveira are amongst the most interesting features of the vast heritage contained inside the church.
The monastery itself spread southwards, following the course of the river Torno, in keeping with the Cistercian requirement for buildings to be placed next to watercourses. Nowadays, all that remains are two cloisters, the largest one built along the church´s southern wall and the smaller one to the west. The latter cloister is, however, very badly ruined and all that remains are some arches supported by Tuscan columns.
9:30 am - 1pm / 2pm - 6 pm (Wednesday-Sunday); 14:00-18:00 (Tuesday);
Closed: Monday, Tuesday morning, first weekend of each month, national public holidays and 29 September (Tarouca municipality public holiday).