Palacio da Bolsa in Porto

Happy postage! The city on the leisurely flowing Douro received a gift from a queen and owes one of its most beautiful buildings to this regent. The Palácio da Bolsa was built in 1842 on Rua de Ferreira Borges, where there was a Franciscan monastery in the Middle Ages. Portugal’s Queen Maria II, the last ruler of the Braganza family and daughter of King Peter, who was also crowned Emperor of Brazil, campaigned for the building of the Palácio da Bolsa. The Porto’s Chamber of Commerce should have a headquarters in this city.

A stock exchange palace with a commercial court

In the mid-19th century, Portugal was a nation of seafarers who transported goods across the oceans from all parts of the New World. The Palácio da Bolsa became a center of power and a hub of trade. The stock exchange and the commercial court resided in this building. However, it took more than fifty years to complete, but the result was undoubtedly impressive – a neoclassical palace was created.

Marble, gold and wooden mosaics

The building’s showpiece is the Moorish hall, which today opens its gates, among other things, for state receptions. Concerts are also held here, and this is where the state awards its highest medals. The walls of the Salao Arabe are richly decorated with wooden mosaics. Whoever enters the Palácio da Bolsa is usually overwhelmed by the grandeur of the marble and gold furnishings in the reception area. The palace was created in the think tank of the Portuguese architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior.

More than 200,000 visitors annually

The Stock Exchange Palace in Porto is a magnet for visitors. More than 200,000 guests from all over the world are registered there every year. There are daily and half-hourly guided tours in small groups in different languages. Photography is not permitted inside the building. The palace has a restaurant where a seven-course menu is served for dinner.

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery, literally the Monastery of the Battle, is a Dominican monastery in the Centro region of Portugal. Originally and officially known as the Monastery of Saint Mary of Victory, it was built in memory of the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It is one of the best and most original examples of late Gothic architecture in Portugal mixed with the Manueline style.

Long, complex construction time

The construction of the monastery took more than a century, from 1386 to around 1517, and bridged the reign of seven kings. Fifteen architects were required and the construction required an enormous amount of resources such as workers and materials. New techniques and artistic styles previously unknown in Portugal were used in the construction of the Batalha Monastery. The work began in 1386 by the Portuguese architect Afonso Domingues, who was responsible until 1402. He designed the plan for the building and many of the structures in the church and cloister are his work.

Structure of the Batalha taster

The western facade, which overlooks the large square with the equestrian statue of General Nuno Álvares Pereira, is divided into three parts by pillars and huge pilasters: the founder’s chapel, the side walls of a side aisle and the protruding portal. To the right of this facade are the Imperfect Chapels, a separate octagonal structure that was added to the complex.

Alcobaça Monastery

The Alcobaça Monastery should not be missed on a trip to Portugal. The former Cistercian monastery, also known as the royal abbey, is the country’s most important monastery complex. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the largest church in Portugal. The buildings are located in the small town of Alcobaça, a little more than ten kilometers from the Atlantic coast and about 100 kilometers from the capital Lisbon. Due to its exciting and extensive history as well as the architectural beauty, the monastery is also ideal for a visit as part of a study trip.


The origins of the monastery go back to King Afonso Henriques in the 12th century. He donated the building out of gratitude for the victory over the Moors. As a result, one of the most important monasteries in the entire order emerged, with considerable influence and financial resources. Over a long period of time, it also had clearly positive effects on arts, crafts, agriculture and trade in general in the region, including through the running of school facilities. After a series of devastating disasters, it was rededicated in the 19th century and can now be visited.

Sights and activities

The heart of the complex is the huge abbey church, which has a heavily decorated baroque facade and a simple main nave dominated by high columns. Together with the side aisles, this forms a cross, connected to the 100 square meter sacristy. A number of elaborate royal tombs can be found in different parts of the church. Furthermore, several cloisters as well as living and working rooms of the monks can be visited, which include, for example, impressive chimneys. There is also a particularly narrow passage which, according to legend, was used to control the weight of the monks. Outside, the French garden invites you to stroll. Last but not least, the site has a particularly complicated water supply system.

Alcobaça Monastery

Portugal Landmarks
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