THE CONVENT OF THE
CAPUCHOS IN PORTUGAL
The verdant mossy ruins of a Franciscan monastery lie in the remote Sintra hills awaiting exploration.
In the forested mountains surrounding Sintra a simple and isolated convent originally built to be close to nature grows continually closer. Now overgrown with vibrantly lush vegetation, this abandoned 16th-century monastery is serene and isolated, both enchantingly haunting and reminiscent of fantasy stories.
Inspiring to the imagination, this magical ruin is today just as much an escape from the busy and opulent resort town of Sintra as it was when it was built in 1560. The monastery was founded by a group of reclusive Franciscan friars who lived an extremely simple and rudimentary lifestyle in this remote corner of the Sintra hills.
The monks took their vow of austerity to the extreme here, living in rock-hewn structures designed to blend completely with the idyllic natural landscape. They slept on stone beds in tiny cell-like quarters cut out of giant granite boulders. As a sole comfort, the monks lined the walls and roofs with cork—found in abundance in the surrounding woods—for protection against the cold and wet. This is why the complex, while officially named the Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, is commonly known as the Convent of the Capuchos, or “Cork Convent.”
Clancy's comment: I'd love to visit this charming place with my cameras. Not so keen about the stone beds.