Wednesday, 12 April 2017
This is a monastery I walk past every day to go to uni or elsewhere in the city, so it would've been easy to forget to visit due to its close proximity and thinking I have time to do it later. Luckily that's not what's happened and my visit was really lovely. The monastery is from the 14th century, but had to be abandoned three centuries later as it was often flooded because it was too close to the river. I walk past the new monastery every day as well, but still need to visit! The ruins of the old monastery are so well-preserved and the architecture is beautiful. But once you see a miniature model of what the monastery and its surrounding buildings, gardens, farms and fields used to look like and how far spread they used to be, you also realize how little has been preserved after all. What has been preserved is gorgeous, though. Although the monastery now looks quite plain in colour, it must've been so pretty in its day as it seems like it used to be covered in azulejo (the Portugese tiles you see everywhere - not complaining, though, they're lovely!). It's funny how in a lot of things in history and archaeology the colouring and art in other ways as well can seem very plain, serious and monotonous to us now, but was often actually so much more colourful, brighter and interesting originally. I was recently (well, in January) attending one of the tours&talks at the British Museum and the guide (who was lovely and whose name I've forgotten) touched upon on this as well, which was very intersting. I think the monastery looks beautiful as it is now, but can you imagine what it would've looked like when it was colourful, surrounded by a garden and lots of water fountains!
xoxo Laura Jones at 1:00 pm