General Information
Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa   
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  • Name: Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa
  • Typology: Monastery
  • Classification: National Monument by Decree 16-06-1910, DG 136 of 23rd June 1910, Order March 1986, Decree 67/97 of 31st December
  • Municipality: Penafiel
  • Patron Saint´s Day: Divine Saviour - 6th August   
  • Worship Hours: Saturday - 9.00 pm; Sunday - 7.30 am and 11 am   
  • Visiting Hours: By appointment   
  • Support Services:

    Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque
    Belfry of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa
    Opening Hours: winter – Friday to Sunday (9am - 1pm / 2pm - 5pm); summer – Wednesday to Sunday (10am - 1pm / 2pm - 6pm)

  • Telephone : +351 255 810 706 / +351 918 116 488 
  • Fax: +351 255 810 709 
  • E-Mail: rotadoromanico@valsousa.pt  
  • Web: www.rotadoromanico.com 
  • Location:
    Largo do Mosteiro, Paço de Sousa, Penafiel, Porto.
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 9' 57.398" N / 8° 20' 41.085" W 
History
History
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Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa  The foundation of this monastic community dates back to the 10th century and is considered the origin of this Benditine Monastery. The will of abbot Randulfo, in 994, who escaped from a monastery to the south, during the incursions of Almançor, contains the first references to this Monastery.

The foundation of the Monastery credits Trutesendo Galindes and his wife Anímia, who followed the peninsular monastic habits and adopted the Rule of Saint Benedict, during the abbacy of Sisnando, between 1085 and 1087.

In 1088, the will of D. Egas Ermiges and his wife Gontinha Eriz donates property and other assets to the Church of the Saviour, for the redemption of their souls.

This church does not correspond to the current Romanesque temple, but its architecture left marks in the construction that would be erected in the 13th century, featuring different periods.

Count D. Henrique donates the Monastery as head of a "Couto" [place of privileges] associated to the Ribadouro, one of the most important families in the Entre-Douro-e-Minho, of which descends Egas Moniz who, according to tradition, would have founded this Monastery.

The family comes from foreign roots, and the first representative, Mónio Viegas I, was born in the Gascogne, according to the information on the Livros de Linhagem [Books of Lineage].

Historical Figures
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King D. Afonso Henriques King D. Afonso Henriques
Afonso I, well-known by his name as prince, D. Afonso Henriques (Coimbra, Guimarães or Viseu, 1109 (?) - Coimbra, 1185), was the first King of Portugal, conquering the independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of Leon.

As a result of his numerous conquests, over more than forty years, that doubled the territory he had inherited from his father, count D. Henrique, he was named "The Conqueror", although he is also known as The Founder and The Great. The Muslims, as a sign of respect, named him Ibn-Arrik (son of Henrique, in a literal translation of the surname Henriques) or El-Bortukali (The Portuguese).

Son of Henrique of Burgundy, Count of Portucale, and D. Teresa of Leon. Some advocate that he would have been the son of Egas Moniz, who was later his schoolmaster and governor.

He rebels against his mother, and triumphs by the force of arms at the Battle of São Mamede (1128).

He proclaims himself king of Portugal after a tremendous victory over the Moors at the Battle of Ourique in 1139.  Castile recognises the independence of Portugal in Zamora, whose treaty was signed in 1143.  Pope Alexander III recognizes Portugal as an independent country and vassal of the Church in 1179.




D. Egas Moniz de Ribadouro
D. Egas Moniz de Ribadouro
The nobleman Egas Moniz (? -1146), descendant of an important family of Entre-Douro-e-Minho, to whom the education of the King D. Afonso Henriques was entrusted,  earned his place in history by convincing King Alfonso VII of Leon to lift the siege of Guimarães (1127), promising him the allegiance of D.  Afonso Henriques.

According to tradition, as this promise was not fulfilled, Egas Moniz, together with his family, went to Toledo, presenting himself before the king with ropes around their necks, offering their lives as the toll to pay for the lie he had told to Alfonso VII.

It is said that the king, moved by such dignity, forgave him and sent back in peace to Portucale.



Panel about the legend of Egas Moniz

This story can be enjoyed in the iconography of the tomb that lies at the Monastery, which we may observe three knights, and the supposed schoolmaster and governor of D.  Afonso Henriques represented more carefully and larger than the other two.



Urraca Viegas
She was born around 1130, and was a daughter of Egas Moniz and Teresa Afonso, of the family of the Ribadouros.  Patron of the Monastery of Saint Saviour of Tuías, in Marco de Canaveses, she was a maid of Princess D. Mafalda, daughter of King  Sancho I and granddaughter of King  Afonso Henriques, who raised her as his own daughter, leaving her, in 1199, a considerable portion of his property.



Vela Rodrigues
Vela Rodrigues, son of Rodrigo Viegas, born of the first marriage of Egas Moniz, schoolmaster and governor of King D. Afonso Henriques, with D. Dórdia Paes de Azevedo.

Legends and Curiosities
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The demolition of the Chapel of the Corporal led to the transference of the tomb of Egas Moniz into the chancel of the church, along with those of his children.

By reading the Minutes of the transference we find that the tomb had already been moved earlier and that a part of the bones had been removed.  The tomb contained only the arms, legs and part of the head as well as the iron of the arms and of the scabbard. 

Tomb of Egas Moniz

According to the chronicler of the Order, Friar Leão de S. Tomás, the bones found inside the grave corresponded to a man of great stature.

In the restoration works of the Monastery, conducted in 1929 after the fire that broke out two years before, the tombs were reconstructed as a double tomb, which can still be seen in the church.

Chronology
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10th century - Original edification (the first documented reference dates back to 994);

13th century - Construction of the Romanesque church;

17th and 18th centuries – Remodeling and transformation of the main chapel and the main façade; remodeling of the cloister and monastic quarters;

1883 to 1887 – Restoration works under the supervision of the Ministério das Obras Públicas [Ministry of Public Works];

1910 – Classification of the church as National Monument (Dec. 6-16-1910);

1920 and 1924 – Beginning of the restoration works under the Ministério das Obras Públicas [Ministry of Public Works];

1927 – A fire partially destroys the Monastery;

1927-1938 – Beginning of the restoration works of the DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments];

1950-1987 – Conservation and restoration works under the scope of the DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments] and of the Fabriqueira Commission;

1992 - The Church and Monastery of Paço de Sousa are allocated to the IPPAR - Instituto Português do Património Arquitetónico [Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage];

1998 – The Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa is included in the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

2010 - Opening of the Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque.

Specialities
Architecture
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This Monastery is crucial to understand the architecture of the Romanesque of the  Tâmega and Sousa, not only for its unique architectural and sculptural features, but also due to the fact that this former Benedictine Monastery shelters the tomb of Egas Moniz, one of the key figures of the beginning of Nationality.

The Monastery is a standard-building for the region, visible in its very own decorative style, both in its themes and the sculptural techniques applied. 

Façade of the Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa

These value the prismatic columns in the portals, bulb-like bases, resorting to bevelled botanic decorative patterns, developing long friezes inside and outside the church, much in the style of the architecture of the Visigoth and Mozarabic period.

Despite its Romanesque features, the Monastery was built in the 13th century, featuring shares of various periods, including elements that were reused from an older construction, probably from the second half of the 12th century, and others of clear Pre-Romanesque nature which have inspired the artists working in the 13th century workshop.

Built with three naves, a false transept designed in the plan, and wood roofings based on diaphragm arches, the Monastery still features a chevet consisting of three intercommunicating chapels. 

Two of these, the lateral ones, are semicircular in the Romanesque style and the central one, with a rectangular plan, is the result of changes made in the Modern Period.

A new building arises on the west side, developed on the basis of the pre-existing church, highlighting a first construction phase in the first flight and axial portal to the west, whose elements, including capitals and corbels, some inspired in the Coimbra tradition, the other in the See of Porto, among other sources, correspond to the earliest moment.

The second phase is represented by the south portal, less archaic than the one to the west, and the contrast between the flights, these being tighter and lower than those of the first phase.

In the third phase, the apses of semicircular plant covered by a broken barrel vault stand out for being quite modern elements within the Romanesque style.

In the last phase of construction of the Monastery, reference should be made to the roofing of the transept and the tower over the cross, whose late architecture resembles the mendicant Gothic.

In the portion of the wall of the transept to the north, friezes and lines of ashlars prior to the 13th century construction were integrated, namely in the crevice of the apses, in the frames and some capitals, as the one in the apse to the south, which present a Mozarabic style. 

The proto or pre-Romanesque elements and revival, such as the friezes bevelled with botanic decoration, which extend along the walls, both inside and outside, result from the inspiration on the motifs and profiles of the pre-Romanesque lines of ashlars.

Similarly, the diaphragms-arches used in the naves are an element that recalls the spatiality of peninsular pre-Romanesque churches.

Inside the Monastery there are some elements that result from the reform which took place during the Modern Period, namely the space of the chancel, once narrow and deep, underwent several restoration works.

The altarpiece of the main altar shows a design and decor of rather late chronology within the Modern period, with a mixture of the rococo and the emerging neoclassic. 

The cloister and the remains of the Monastery building are clearly a result of the reforms of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Surroundings
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In the scope of the Study for the Enhancement and Protection of the Monuments of the  Route of the Romanesque of the Vale do Sousa, in which the guidelines and framework of the subsequent development of technical projects for implementation and respective works for the enhancement and protection of the surroundings were defined, the conditions considered most relevant for the preservation and requalification of the surroundings were described.

The aim of this Study is to preserve the context in which these are integrated, namely the integration of constraints on legal provisions - such as Special Protection Areas - restricting urban interventions that may endanger the integrity of the surroundings.

Surroundings of the Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa

We also proceeded to the definition of areas and interventions of general nature to take into account in the surroundings, in order to extend the planning to a wider area and allow better circulation of tourists in the region.

Finally, the Study defined the priority interventions to be carried out in the surroundings, to allow the stabilization of the territories and, simultaneously, correct and/or create structures and supporting infrastructures.

The Study emphasizes the qualifying nature of the park and its botanic elements in the surroundings of the Monastery.  In order to enhance these surroundings, we shall carry out interventions for the redefinition of public spaces, the revision of the paving and the continuity with other adjacent public spaces and placing of proper and efficient lighting. 

The roads, which contribute to abrupt cuts in the surrounding landscape, should be harmonised, namely through the placement of sidewalks and pavements consistent with the one surrounding the building.

Restoration and Enhancement
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The Monastery was subject to works aimed at restoring the roofs, the drainage and excavation in the surroundings of the church and on the east side of the sacristy of the Monastery, and the cleaning and treatment of the exterior and interior walls and spans.

The roofing of the church was particularly vulnerable, with biological pathologies, putrefied structural elements, broken tiles, and leaks.

The works began at the dome, followed by the main nave and finally ending on the aisles and apses.

Gallery
  • +Left lateral nave of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Main chapel of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Capital of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +West portal of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +South apsiole of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Right lateral nave of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Tomb of Egas Moniz at the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Tomb of Egas Moniz at the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Main altarpiece of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +South façade of the Monastery of Paço Sousa

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Archivolts of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Corbel of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Cloister of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Lateral nave of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Tower adjacent to the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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  • +Corbel of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa

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Know More
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