Star Basilica, Lisbon Basilica da Estrela
To the northwest of the city center, on one of Lisbon's many hills, stands the Basilica da Estrela. Its striking position and gleaming white dome make it resemble the National pantheon, which is situated considerably further to the east but whose dome causes them to be easily confused, and which is a prominent point of reference in a panoramic overview of Lisbon.
Star Basilica Map
Address: Praça da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisboa, Portugal
Opening hours: 8:45am-8pm
Transit: Tram: 25, 26, 28, 29, 30; Bus: 9, 20, 22, 38.
Star Basilica Highlights
Basilica da Estrela - Interior
The singled aisled, harmoniously proportioned interior also appears light and bright. The church is completely lined with pink, white and gray marble. The ceiling is barrel vaulted, this continuing into the chancel where it changes into a semi cupola. The high cupola spans the barrel roof creating a pleasant expanse. It is divided by large, bright windows and fluted pilasters. The conspicuous high altar was created by Pompeu Batoni in Rome.The grave of Maria I, the only member of the Bragança family not to be buried in the family pantheon in the Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora, can be seen in the right transept. The tomb of her father confessor (the archbishop of Évora, Inácio de Sao Caetano) is located in the sacristy. It is even more richly decorated than that of the queen.The buildings surrounding the church and the cloisters are used today for administration and are not open to the public.
Star Basilica - Marble Statues and Christmas Crib
Of note are the various marble statues both inside and outside the basilica, which come from the famous sculpting school at Mafra. The work of its leader, Machado de Castro, includes the figures of Mary and Joseph standing to the left and the right of the entrance hall and a Christmas crib with more than 500 figures (it is located in a sideroom which will be opened to interested visitors). Machedo de Castro also decorated the sacristy.
Cemetery of Pleasure
Laid out in 1833, the Cemitério dos Prazeres, the "Cemetery of Pleasure" (the name derives from a previous property on this site) lies above the Alcântara valley. The white graves stretch for more than 110,000sq.m/ 131,560sq.yd in the shade of old cypress trees. The cemetery resembles a miniature town: along a total of 73 systematically arranged streets house like graves and mausoleums lie to the left and the right. The graves have "front doors" at whose windows hang crocheted curtains, with little tables and sometimes chairs standing inside - diverse accessories are supposed to give a homely atmosphere.Some truly monumental, historically interesting graves are worth visiting (nos. 2060, 2086, 4090, 5250, 5284, 5411, 6301). Graves of well known Portuguese families as well as some famous personalities can be found in the Prazeres cemetery. One of the most famous, Fernando Pessoa, whose literary greatness was only recognized some time after his death, was first buried here and then moved in 1985 to the cloisters of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém, where he now rests very close to the most important people of Portuguese history.From the western edge of the cemetery a marvelous view can be enjoyed over the Alcântara valley, the Parque Florestal de Monsanto and the Tagus with the Ponte 25 de Abril.
In Campo de Ourique - one of Lisbon's most popular quarters in the early 20th C. - the final residence of Fernando Passoa is open to visitors. The house, in which Pessoa lived from 1920 until his death in 1935, was extensively restored in 1993 and converted to a modern library. Only the facade and the room in which Pessoa lived are still as they were during his time here.The Casa Pessoa houses a comprehensive collection of books of modern verse as well as works by Pessoa and literature about him and his work. Also on display are some of his personal belongings and his bookcase, the only item of furniture which he took with him each time he moved house - Pessoa lived in more than thirty different houses in Lisbon.One of the highlights is a portrait of Pessoa painted by his friend Almada Negreiros in 1954; a similar picture hangs in the Centro de Arte Moderna.Pessoa's living room is on the first floor. From time to time artists are invited to arrange it as they think it would have looked during Pessoa's lifetime.On the second and third floors are offices, reading rooms and exhibition rooms. Note also the passage leading through the house to the inner courtyard with its pretty cafeteria. The walls are decorated with drawings, poems and, above all, horoscopes. Pessoa was a fanatical astrologer and produced a horoscope for each character who figured in his poems. One of the poems displayed was written by Pessoa to his mother when he was seven years old.
Ermida de Santo Amaro
The Renaissance chapel Santo Amaro, which is unfortunately usually kept closed, lies between Belém and Lisbon city center. The ground plan, over which the chapel was built in 1549, is of interest. The round main body of the chapel is joined to the circular, somewhat lower, choir. A wide, semi circular hall lies off the the interior and is decorated with valuable tiles dating from the first third of the 17th C. The azulejos inside the chapel come from the famous tile factory at Rato. They depict scenes from the lives of the saints.
Map - Star Basilica
Star Basilica Pictures
Map of Lisbon Attractions