Classified as a National Monument in 1977, the Monastery of São Bento da Vitoria is one of the most important religious buildings of the city.
When it was built in the 16th century, it was within the walls of the city, near the Porta do Olival, occupying lands that formerly integrated the Jewish quarter. The Benedictine friars arrived in Porto in 1597 and the following year they were authorized by the king to build a monastery, designed to mark the presence of the Portuguese Benedictine Congregation and to support the friars who passed through the city.
The construction of the building, designed by the architect Diogo Marques Lucas, began in 1604, but the construction dragged on for many years. The church, for example, was built in 1693 but its decoration was not complete until the end of the eighteenth century. Therefore, the baroque architecture of its exterior is accompanied, in the interior, by several decorative styles which reveal the change of styles and tastes during this long period. The first stone of the Noble Cloister was launched in 1608 but would only be completed between 1725 and 1728.
The grandeur of this granite monument is still impressive today. But at the time it functioned as a monastery, it was an important center for music and singing. The organ that exists in the church bears witness to this golden age.
The following centuries were somewhat troublesome: in 1808, during the Peninsular War, it was converted into a Military Hospital and, in 1835, after the expulsion of the Religious Orders, it was transformed into a Military Court and House of Soldiers, as well as Infantry Quarters 31 and Engineering.
Between 1985 and 1990 it underwent restoration works functioning as the headquarters of the Oporto National Orchestra and the Porto District Archive. In 2001, under the European Capital of Culture, the Cloister Noble was covered by an acoustic shell. In 2007, part of the Monastery was attributed to the Teatro Nacional São João. Since then, it welcomes theatrical plays, shows, concerts and special events.
Rua de São Bento da Vitória, Porto
From Monday to Friday, at 12:00, and the first Sunday of the month, at 15:00, for a maximum of 30 people.
Price: € 3.00 per person.
Free entry for children up to 10 years old, accompanied by adults.
Reservations: 00351 22 340 19 56 or firstname.lastname@example.org