Photographer's Note

The Church of Santa Maria is a 13th century building in all likelihood built on the site of the former mosque. There were later changes due to the damage caused by the 1755 earthquake.

On the faade, the gothic detail clearly stands out; the doorway, decorated with ornamental vegetalist capitals, the ogival window and a small rose window. The clock tower also belongs to the original construction although decorative additions were later made. The unusual positioning of the towers should be noted. Here, they are at the head of the church whereas normally they are at the opposite end.

Inside, there are some impressive works of art. In the main chapel, there are the tombs of the seven knights of the Order of SantIago and Paio Peres Correia who conquered the city from the Moors. In the Chapel of Santssimo (His Holiness), observe the 18th century pictorial tiles on the walls. In the Chapels of Almas (the Souls), an 18th century carved retable features a central high-relief religious icon dated to the 17th century. Finally, in the sacristy attention goes to the 18th century tiling depicting baskets of fruit and vases of flowers.

In the sacred treasury, featuring 16th to 19th century gold pieces and religious vestments, special reference has to be made to a rare 16/17th century Japanese bookstand.

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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5757 W: 83 N: 11635] (77640)
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