NileGuide Expert Says:
This cherished Lisbon landmark is free to enter.
Praça da Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal
21 396 0915
One of Lisbon's most impressive religious buildings, this 18th-century church is recognised for its huge white domed basilica – a beloved city landmark. It was built on the orders of Maria I, the eldest daughter of King José I. She had vowed to build a church if she bore male heir and after her son José was born in 1779 work began on its construction. The building was completed in 1790 but by then José had succummed to smallpox. The structure is a fine example of the late Baroque and neo-Classical architectural style. Balancing the dome's perspective are twin belltowers that flank the decorated façade. The stone mason's craft is further exemplified by a row of gesticulating saints set above the main portal. The marble clad interior is the final resting place of Queen Maria I whose elaborate tomb lies in the right transept. Visit mid-afternoon to capture the sunlight streaming through the dome.