Convent of the Capuchos – a spiritual journey
With little more than 450 years of history, the Convent of the Capuchos is located in the heart of the Serra de Sintra. Although it is no longer used as a Christian convent or by any religious order, the place still convey so much about the simplistic lifestyle that Franciscan monks led in there.
The Franciscan monks who occupied the Convent of the Capuchos made a vow of poverty, which was taken to the extreme and is transmitted even by the architecture of the place. The construction is very simple in every detail, from the small dimensions of the spaces to the cork flooring in the rooms, the only comfort that served as protection against the cold.
This photo is part of the photo gallery on the Parques de Sintra Website. See the full gallery here.
The details in the architecture are all related with the history of the place. Arriving at the Convent of the Capuchos, visitors can see three crosses, symbolizing Golgotha, where Christ was crucified. In the center there is a big one, which represents the cross of Christ and in each side one smaller cross. To have access to the building is necessary to choose one of the two stairs located in the smaller crosses. This is a representation of the concept of free-will and the Cross symbolizes the presence of God in these choices. The Cross in the middle is not accessible to represent how the divine pathway is not a possible way for mortal men. The architecture of the place is full of these symbolisms, which makes the tour even more interesting for those who go for the audio guide and therefore can better understand these details.
Those who visit the Convent of the Capuchos might also notice that the vegetation is in the surroundings and sometimes even mix a little with the building itself, but it was not always like this. Previously the site was very open and bright, but was submitted to forest management measures in the mid nineteenth century.
Regardless of religious beliefs, visit the Convent of the Capuchos is very interesting to understand a little of how it was the day-to-day of these monks and especially their lifestyle that excludes material goods and was taken with extreme rigor.
The History of the Convent
The legend says that the 4th Viceroy of India, Dom Joao de Castro was on a hunt in the Serra de Sintra when he got lost. Overcome by tiredness, the king ended up falling asleep and then had a dream where he was told of the need to build a Christian convent in that place. Not having time to accomplish his mission before he died in 1548, King asked his son to do it. Álvaro de Castro, son of the king, founded in 1560 the Convent of Santa Cruz, best known as the Convent of the Capuchos. Monks of the Franciscan Order occupied the convent until 1834, as the religious orders were abolished in Portugal and the monks had to leave the building. The covent then became a private property for a few years until in 1949 the Portuguese State acquired the property that is now open to visitors.
The Convent of the Capuchos – Information
Phone: +351 219237300
Adult ticket (18-64 years) – €5
Tickets young (6-17 years) – €4
Ticket Senior (over 65 years) – €4
*Prices may vary according to the season, so we highly recommend everyone to check out the Convent´s website before visit, to check all the information.
* It is possible to find cheaper options in cases of combined tickets (that include more attractions of Parques de Sintra). Check out the options here.
* Sintra residents do not pay on Sundays until 1p.m.