Lisbon’s Monastery of São Vicente

It’s funny how one can live in a city for an extended period of time and not visit some of its most iconic sights. In June 2020, while in Lisbon for the summer, I finally toured the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora on the fervent recommendation of a friend. And I’m glad I did because it’s filled with artistic, architectural, spiritual, even curious splendors.

Hills and lookout views abound in Lisbon, but my friend swore that the best panoramic perspective of the city was from the top of the monastery. He was absolutely right.
One of the monastery’s least promoted, but undeniably fascinating attractions is its collection of seashells from the shorelines and estuaries of Portugal. I wrote a little more about it for Atlas Obscura.
Decorative banister depicting elements from the Portuguese flag in the entrance hall.
The marble floors may need a polish but their intricate pattern and coloring still shine.
The fable of the Old Man and His Sons, also known as The Bundle of Sticks, depicted in tiles.
The imposing late Renaissance facade of the church.

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