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Santa María Church

Santa María Church (4B)

The convent’s church, made up of three naves, is known widely for its gothic dome designed by Joao of Castile, as well as for its octagonal columns. These open as they rise, creating a truly harmonious space, and are decorated with horticultural motifs. 

In addition, inside the Santa María church you can find the tombs of the explorer Vasco de Gama and the illustrious poet Luis of Camoes, both from the 19th century.

There are more tombs in the transverse nave, while the most renowned attractions are the sarcophaguses of Manuel I, his wife Maria, Joao III and his wife Catarina, found in the choir gallery, laying on figures of elephants.

The history of the tomb of King Sebastiao is colourful while the tomb itself remains empty. This well-loved monarch never returned from the disastrous crusade against the Moors in 1578, and his legend adds to the nostalgic spirit of the Portuguese fado. According to the legend the King never really died in battle and one day will return to save his country and restore its former glory.

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