Faded splendour in Beja

You may recall me mentioning a week or so ago that the Church attached to the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição is even more extravagant than the Chapter Hall. It is also though suffering from a lack of maintenance. As you first enter the Church all you can see in the glamour, created by 17th and 18th century gilded carving.

Entering the church

However you soon begin to notice the signs of wear and tear. This is a building in much need of renovation and conservation. I suspect though it is unlikely to happen as the entrance fees are minimal (€2 in 2019 with a 50% reduction for pensioners, students and teachers, and free admission on Sundays), so I would be surprised if they do much more than cover the immediate running costs.

The Church contains multiple altars as well as a small chapel. One of the altars is 17th century Florentine marble.  Again I am dismayed by how much money was poured into the art and architecture, rather than into projects to support the local community. I know this was typical of the period within the Catholic church and associated monasteries and convents, but somehow it seems worse when it is a church attached to a religious order that was living a simple life of poverty, austerity and seclusion.

What did catch my eye was the wonderful azulejos panels. I can never resist photographing the blue and white azujelos, even in challenging light without a flash. Was intrigued though by the metal sticking out. Any suggestions?!

You may recall me mentioning the infamous window that Mariana spied her French lover from. I thought this was it initially, however apparently not. This is simply a communication access point between the convent and the church. For her official window you need to go upstairs, this one makes much more sense to me.


Should you wish to visit the Church it is part of the Regional Museum of Beja, and your entrance ticket will gain you access to the Church, the attached Convent and the Visigothic Centre a few streets away in Largo de Santo Amaro. They are open mornings and afternoons (closed for lunch), with the exception of Mondays and holidays when they are closed all day.

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It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

27 thoughts on “Faded splendour in Beja

  1. The Catholic church is not the richest organisation for nothing! I guess not much money flows into the poorer Catholic countries though like Portugal. Although I like to see old churches and monasteries I too am dismayed by how much money was poured into the art and architecture. I enjoy the peace and simplicity of much plainer places of worship.

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