Igreja de Santa Maria - Obidos

Interior - Igreja de Santa Maria
© Ana Rita Ferreira 80 / CC BY-SA 3.0
Igreja Santa Maria
© Angel de los Rios / CC BY-SA 3.0
Túmulo de D. João de Noronha
© Ana Rita Ferreira 80 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Church of St Mary

The Igreja de Santa Maria (Church of Saint Mary) is one of the most important religious structures in Óbidos, and has been for at least 1500 years. It hasn't been a Christian place of worship all of this time, however. It was first believed to have been the site of a Visigoth temple, before its conversion into a mosque when the Iberian Peninsula was ruled by the caliphates of North Africa. It didn't become a church until the twelfth century, during the gothic period.

That said, today's church takes more from the Renaissance of the sixteenth century, as can be seen from the ornate main entranceway to the exquisite interior of the high altar. This was the spot in the 1400s for the marriage of King Afonso V to his cousin Isabel, who had a combined age of just eighteen at the time!

Siting at one end of Rua Direita, the town's main thoroughfare, other treasures within its thick walls include walls of 300 year old blue and white azulejos tiling, and an ornate tomb of nobleman João de Noronha carved by French sculptor Nicolas Chanterène.

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