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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Cape Espichel

The Sanctuary - Marts 2016

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Espichel is located at the westernmost point on the coast of Sesimbra. It is a unique religious architectural complex consisting of a church, a hostel for pilgrims, a small chapel, Ermida da Memória, a small opera house, Casa da Ópera, which is now in ruins, the pilgrims' gardens, Hortas dos Peregrinos and a drinking water supply - Casa da Água. The monastery marks the place where an image the the Virgin Mary, according to legend, appeared in 1410 after a sailor priest had seen her This event later led to the whole cult around Our Lady of Espichel.


Casa da Agua - Refugiets vandforsyning - Marts 2016



The main entrance to the church - Marts 2016 


The church, built in Baroque style, dates from 1701 and is attributed to the architect João Antunes.



The church

Inside are some valuable artistic works, especially the alterations of the high altar in Portuguese Baroque style with the figure of Senhora do Cabo, the perspective ceiling painting (created in 1740 by the painter Lourenço da Cunha) and the paintings from the 16th century in the sacristy. They come from Mestre da Lourinhã and represent St. James and St. Anthony. Note also the grandstand of the high altar, which was intended for the members of the royal family.


The church building seen from behind - Marts 2016


A randomly selected pilgrim room / dormitory seen from behind  - Marts 2016

When you stand in front of the monastery and look towards the church itself, you wonder why all the windows to the rooms where the pilgrims were accommodated are walled. If you then go around the back of the lengths, you get the focal point - Everything has pretty much collapsed and only the front of the walls are intact. Trees and other vegetation are shot up through the floors and often further through the roofs.


Rmida da Memória -The little chapel  - Marts 2016 

A short distance from the church is the small Capela da Memória. The chapel is older than the church (15th century). The interior is covered with 18th-century tile paintings that tell us the story of Senhora do Cabo. The Blessed Virgin is said to have been the oldest here in 1410.



Inside the little chapel  - Marts 2016


The small chapel at the top of the cliff edge is decorated with typical Portuguese Azulejos or blue tiles from the 18th century. Incidentally, this was where the American film "The Invisible Circus" ended.


The Invisible Circus - amerikansk film fra 2001



R. José Relvas 682, Q.ta do Conde, Portugal


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