Portuguese Gothic architecture

Portuguese Gothic Architecture

Portuguese Gothic architecture

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Portuguese Gothic architecture is the architectural style prevalent in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages. As in other parts of Europe, Gothic style slowly replaced Romanesque architecture in the period between the late 12th and the 13th century. Between the late 15th and early 16th century, Gothic was replaced by Renaissance architecture through an intermediate style called Manueline.



Churches and monasteries

Gothic architecture was brought to Portugal by the Cistercian Order. The first fully Gothic building in Portugal is the church of the Monastery of Alcobaça, a magnificent example of the clear and simple architectural forms favoured by the Cistertians. The church was built between 1178 and 1252 in three phases, and seems inspired by the Abbey of Clairvaux, in the Champagne. Its three aisles are very tall and slender, giving an exceptional impression of height. The whole church is covered by rib vaulting and the main chapel has an ambulatory and a series of radiant chapels. The vault of the ambulatory is externally supported by flying buttresses, typical features of Gothic architecture and a novelty at the time in Portugal.

After the foundation of Alcobaça, the Gothic style was chiefly disseminated by mendicant orders (mainly Franciscan, Augustinians and Dominicans). Along the 13th and 14th centuries, several convents were founded in urban centres, important examples of which can be found in Oporto (São Francisco Church), Coimbra (Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha),......
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