Monastery of Santa Cruz

The Monastery of Santa Cruz is located at Praça 8 de Maio, 3. Today it is a National Monument. It is also called the National Pantheon because the first two kings of Portugal are buried there. These kings were Afonso Henriques and his successor, Sancho I. Their tombs were created by Nicolau Chanterene, and these were done in 1530. The monastery was founded in 1131 and was the most important monastery of the early days of the Portuguese monarchy. The first prior was St. Theotonius. The early Romanesque monastery is now gone and a new monastery took its place, funded by King Manuel.

The church and cloister in the Manueline style were reconstructed by the architect Diogo Boitac. These have ribbed ceilings. He reconstructed the façade between 1507 and 1513. The portal was constructed in 1522 by Diogo de Castilla, with sculptures from Nicolau de Chanterene. There are three sculptures in the central part by Joao de Ruao, and these are the Prophet, King David, and Our Lady. The Baroque triumphal arch came later from the hand of the priest Jose do Couto. The church has only one nave with several lateral naves. There are many azulejos that adorn the chapels, and they are from the 17th century. The pulpit is important and is the work of Nicolau de Chanterene, who worked on it between 1518 and 1522. The organ is the work of Manuel Brito Gomez Herrera and was finished in 1724. The main altarpiece is Baroque and is made of wood, and this imitates marble. The sacristy dates back to the 17th century and keeps some notable 16th century canvases. The wooden chairs of the high choir were the work of Machim. The church also has the sepulcher of Sao Teotino, the first Portuguese saint.