Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel
Worship Mary in a monumental natural setting.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Cape Espichel, also known as Nossa Senhora da Pedra Mua, is one of the most impressive sites in this region for its location and its remarkable natural architectural complex. Its worship dates back to 1410, when the venerated image of Our Lady of the Cape was discovered at the tip of Cape Espichel by two old men from Caparica and Alcabideche, who were given signs from Heaven in coinciding dreams. Until the start of the 18th century, the grounds around the primitive temple were encased by houses for the pilgrims who travelled there in pilgrimage to venerate the image.
Built facing away from the sea, the current church was built by royal order between 1701 and 1707, its design by architect João Antunes. As of 1715, the heavy influx of pilgrims to the Cape forced the construction of two wings of inns with housing and shops, which were enlarged between 1745 and 1760. Later, a supply system including the aqueduct and the water house were built, and, after that, the Opera House, of which only ruins remain.
Inside, you will find a number of valuable artistic relics, namely the altarpiece of the high altar in the national baroque style, which guards the image of the Lady of the Cape; the painted ceilings (done in 1740 by Lourenço da Cunha) and the 16th century paintings by the Master of Lourinhã, representing Saint James and Saint Anthony and which can be seen in the sacristy. Also deserving attention is the gallery located on the high altar, which was intended for royal visits.
A few metres from the Sanctuary, on the cliffs, remains the little Hermitage of Memory, dating from the 15th century and built on the exact spot of the apparition. Its interior is lined with 18th century tile panels that depict the legend of the Lady of the Cape.
Every day: 9.30am-6pm