Basilica da Estrela is better known in Lisbon as the Royal Monastery. The construction of this monastery comes from Queen Mary as a fulfillment of vows and is one of the most beautiful architectural structures during her reign. The Basilica is the only first church in the whole world dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The basilica is distinctly white, it is one of the most beautiful if not the most beautiful buildings in Lisbon. Queen Mary was married to her uncle Peter of Braganza, and they married in 1760. She then vowed to build a monastery and a church. As the heiress of King Joseph I, she inherited the throne in 1777. In 1761, she gave birth to a child who died of smallpox in 1788. Even then, the monastery was under construction. When she came to the throne, she was strong enough to finish what she started, and that is the construction of this basilica.
The then court architect Mateus Vicente did the main work on fulfilling the queen's vow. He did not have time to finish the basilica, so the architect Reinaldo Manuel dos Santos was in charge of its final appearance, who "at his discretion" built the dome, bell towers and one part of the facade. The end result is beautiful, and it is a combination of two architects. The basilica is located on a small hill, so it is visible from various parts of the city. The basilica is dominated by a large white dome, and it is built in two beautiful styles: baroque and neoclassicism. On the front facade of the basilica there are harmonious statues of saints and double bell towers.
It is very nice to hear the bells of the basilica ringing in Lisbon. There are old clocks on the bell towers that show the exact time. The interior is very richly done, mostly of 3 types of marble, gray, pink and yellow, which are so nicely blended and represent one perfect design. The church houses paintings by the painter Pompeo Batoni, as well as the tomb of Queen Marry. What catches the most attention in the interior of the church are the nativity scenes, which have as many as 500 figures, made of cork and terracotta.
The official year of construction is 1779. It is equally beautiful on the outside and inside, and the Baroque architecture contributed the most to its beauty. The yellow tourist tram 28 runs to this elegant building, so it is difficult to bypass it when visiting Lisbon.
The basilica has a balcony, where it is allowed for you to stay, for an unforgettable view of Lisbon.
Ticket price: 1.50 euros per person, and access to the balcony of the dome is paid an additional 4.00 euros.
Author of the text:
Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
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Photo by Jaime Dantas on Unsplash