Summer hours: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Winter hours: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Closed to the public: Monday; 1st January; Easter Sunday; Labour Day (1st May); 25th December; 8th September (municipal holiday)
The construction of the Saint John of Tarouca Monastery began in 1154. This was the first male Cistercian monastery built on Portuguese territory. With its foundation closely linked to the foundation of Portugal and to the figure of King Afonso Henriques, the monastic complex was greatly expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries with the construction of new buildings, including a new, colossal two-storey dormitory, the only one of its kind in Portugal.
The year 1834 would dictate the successive dereliction of the building, a direct consequence of the decree of extinction of Religious Orders. The church was converted into a parish church and the monastic premises sold by public auction and its buildings used as quarry until the beginning of the 20th century.
Classified as a National Monument, since 2009 the monastic complex has been part of the Vale do Varosa Project, which allowed the restoration of the Monastery Church and the ruins to be stored in museums, the result of an exhaustive archaeological excavation, one of the largest in Portugal, which took place between 1998 and 2007.
In the Casa da Tulha, a former monastic granary, visitors can see a three-dimensional reconstruction of the monastery and the site’s interpretative centre. The Saint John of Tarouca Monastery is one of the most sought after places for those visiting the Douro and Varosa region.
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