Estrela Basilica

Basilica da Estrela
Facade of Basílica da Estrela
Estrela Garden and Basilica

The Basílica da Estrela in Lisbon is a huge baroque/neoclassical church with a most impressive dome. It was built by order of Queen Maria I of Portugal to celebrate the birth of her first (and only) son, José, Prince of Brazil. It is perhaps no coincidence that the styling is similar to the National Palace in Mafra as this was built by her father, João V, to celebrate the birth of his own first child.

The architects were Mateus Vicente de Oliveira and Reinaldo Manuel de Sousa whose other work included the National Palace at Queluz. Building of the basilica began in 1779, when Prince José was 18 years old. However, in a cruel twist of, José had died of smallpox before it was complete in 1790.

Besides the great dome of the church, the most striking features are the façade with its twin bell towers. Both the inside and outside of the church are adorned with statues of saints and other religious figures.
The interior does not disappoint with beautifully patterned grey, pink and yellow marble floors along with several paintings by Italian Neoclassical artist Pompeo Batoni. One of the best known works of art in the basilica is a nativity scene by sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro.

It seems appropriate that the tomb of Queen Maria I is set in this, her church. It can be found in the right transept.

Other attractions near Estrela Basilica


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