Castro de Avelãs Monastery
Monastery in Bragança
Located approximately 3 km from Bragança is the town of Castro de Avelãs, where the remaining structure of the Benedictine monastery can be found. The monastery was a prosperous institution that played a crucial role in the settlement of the region and in providing assistance to pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela, from the 12th century until the end of the 16th century. However, in 1543, the monastery was dissolved by the Papal Bull of Paul III, which led to its annexation to the diocese of Miranda do Douro, along with the transfer of friars and assets. This change marked the beginning of its abandonment.
The structure of the monastery is quite unique, with only the apse remaining from its Romanesque origins. This is a testament to the monumental ambition of the project and the medieval construction process, as the apse was the first part to be built after measuring the entire perimeter, allowing for worship to take place before the completion of the works.
The transept consists of three round chapels of exceptional architectural quality, characterized by brickwork and decorated blind arches, which is a one-of-a-kind example in Portugal. In the 18th century, a rectangular body was added to extend the apse, with the sacristy attached to the left apse and the right one open to the outside. A quadrangular tower still remains from the monastic dependencies.