Visit: Inside Lisbon Tours, Campo Pequeno 48 6º Dir., Lisbon 1000-081 Portugal
Visit: Convento dos Capuchos, Rua de Sao Pedro Parques de Sintra, Colares 2705-157 Portugal
The last wishes of an illustrious noble with a brilliant career in the Orient were to build a Franciscan convent at the very heart of the Sintra hills, in direct contact with nature and in keeping with a philosophy of extreme architectural and decorative simplicity.
The Capuchos Convent was founded in 1560 by Dom Álvaro de Castro, a State Councillor to King Sebastião, with the name of Convento de Santa Cruz da Serra de Sintra, and was placed in the hands of Franciscan friars in fulfilment of a vow that he had made to his father, Dom João de Castro, the fourth viceroy of India.
The Capuchos Convent is extremely small in size, being notable for the great poverty of its construction. It is also known as the “Cork convent” because of the extensive use of cork in the protection and decoration of its tiny spaces. Its rustic appearance and great austerity are indissociable from the surrounding vegetation, since the building is completely integrated into the natural environment, to the extent that enormous granite boulders have been incorporated into its construction.