D. José, prince of Portugal, may have never had the chance to see the building but he was indirectly responsible for the construction of one of Lisbon’s landmark, Basílica da Estrela.
In the 18th century Queen D. Maria I and king D. Pedro III, kings of Portugal, wanted an heir so badly that they promised that if they had one they would build a church in Lisbon.
In 1761 a baby boy, D. José, was born and their parents fulfilled their promise. Basílica da Estrela started to be constructed in 1779.
Unfortunately, the throne’s heir died in 1788 from smallpox but the impressive church was finished and opened in 1790.
The building was designed following the same style of Mafra’s National Palace, near Lisbon, in neoclassical and baroque styles and it is one of a kind.
Basica da Estrela twin towers on its façade are unique in their genre but this catholic temple’s ex-libris is its great dome that can be seen from miles and miles away and that became on of the most typical elements of Lisbon’s landscape.
Besides being a beautiful monument, the church still functions as a temple, masses and ceremonies are still celebrated in it and the church bells still mark the rhythm of Lisbon, especially of its nearby neighbourhood, Lapa.
Basilica da Estrela
> Praça da Estrela
> Opens Monday to Sunday, 07:30 -13:00, 15:00-20:00
> Free entrance (limited entrance during services)
> Insider tip: just across the street there’s the famous Jardim da Estrela. If you want to relax for a while or enjoy reading a good book under a tree, that’s the right spot for you.