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A view of the Gothic entrance to Portugal's largest church located in Alcobaça.

In March 1147, the fledgling King Dom Afonso Henriques, defeated the Moors by capturing the city of Santarém. As a tribute to his victory he vowed to build a magnificent home for the Order of Cistercians. It took another 76 years before this task was completed. The monarchy continued to carry out further construction and 60 years later King Dinis built the main cloister. The adjoining Monastery was consecrated in 1262.

The church contains the tombs of Pedro I of Portugal and his murdered mistress Inês de Castro and with it the story of the tragic liaison between Pedro and Inês. Forced at an early age as a royal duty, he was to marry Constanza, the Infanta (Princess) of Castile, but she died shortly after the marriage. Dom Pedro escape with his true love and later lived in the city of Coimbra.

His father, King Afonso IV, believing that the family of Inês was a threat to his own kingdom had her murdered. Shortly after the death of his father Dom Pedro declared that he had married Inês in a prior secret ceremony in Bragança, and promptly took a gruesome revenge on the killers and exhumed her body.

He presented the embalmed corpse at the court with a crown on her head and demanded that all his courtiers kneel and individually pay homage to her decomposed hand. Today, their ornate tombs face each other so that on Judgment Day his first sight would be of his beloved Inês.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9623 W: 63 N: 27092] (119495)
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