The founding of the Monastery of Alcobaça, located in central Portugal, is closely associated with the beginning of the Portuguese monarchy. When Afonso Henriques was proclaimed King Alfonso I in 1139, he based his political reconquest on the Crusaders and on religious orders. Alcobaça was given to the Cistercians in recognition of their support to the conquest of Santarem (1152) with the understanding that they would colonise and work the surrounding lands.
This place is big, very big. In this picture one sees the front-end. Imagine a square where this front-end is one of four sides of the monastry. Behind this facade is hidden huge cloisters, sleeping quarters, a spectacular kitchen, etc. At one time the monastry housed 999 monks. Religious orders were banned in 1835 and for a long time this place just stood empty and some vandalous damage occurred.
It is a World Heritage site and is put to use in various ways, e.g. conferences.
The panorama was the only way that I could capture all of the front-end, in one go. I tried to straighten the picture, including the use of Shift-N, but it all just result in the picture getting smaller and a loss of quality.
The next number of pictures will feature the monastry.