St John of Tarouca and the fortified Ucanha Bridge and the Little Dog that could!

The construction of St John of Tarouca began in the year of 1154.  It was the first Cistercian male monastery built in Portuguese territory.

Monasteries were always built by rivers so they could be self sufficient.

In 1834 there was an extinction decree of religious orders, meaning no more monasteries.  The church was converted into a Parish Church. The monastic buildings were sold and it was used as a quarry until the early 20th century.  Has now been declared a national monument.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastery Ruins

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastery Ruins

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastery Ruins

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastery Ruins

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastery Ruins

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The side of the church from the ruins of the Monastery

 

 

As I walked around the ruins of the Monastery, I felt at peace. Im not that religious yet a calm feeling came over me.

Only the church is left standing , construction of the church was started in 1154.  In the 17th century the church was extensively renovated.

 

IMG_3520.JPG
The exterior of the church

A service was going to be held in 15 minutes so I quickly took some photos before we had to leave.

 

The church is in the  baroque style.  Gold and diamonds were used to impress people to attract them into the church. The people were mostly poor farmers.

IMG_3508.JPG
All that gold and diamonds

 

 

IMG_3509.JPG
The blue and white tiles telling the story of the monastery.

 

IMG_3511.JPG
The stunning ceiling in the church.

 

IMG_3514.JPG
Another view of the inside of the church.

 

Our next stop was the Ucanha bridge and Tower.  Such beauty before us.  It is known as the most beautiful medieval bridge and tower in Portugal and I could certainly see why. As far back at 1910 it was declared a National Monument.   There is no known record of when Ucanha bridge was built.

 

 

IMG_3589.jpg
Isn’t this dog so cute!

 

As we all got off the coach a cute little dog greeted each one of us.  Then he walked with us down to the river and across the bridge.  Apparently this little dog does this with every coach full of tourists. Most towns in Portugal the busses and coaches are not allowed in the towns due to the narrow cobblestone streets.  Some are so tiny they are like tiny little walkways.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Underneath the tower

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Varosa river that runs underneath the bridge

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The bridge has a steep incline, that peaks in the middle, The tower in the background

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Isn’t this bridge just beautiful

Ucanha Bridge was the first toll bridge in Portugal.  It was an access point in the region that travelers paid to cross.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The stunning countryside

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I could see myself with a picnic and a bottle of wine by this river

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The little dog trotted back across the bridge to wait till the next bus load of tourists arrived.

 

The little dog made sure we were all safely on board and he trotted back across the bridge to wait for the next coach full of tourists.

 

The coach took us back to the Azure Cruise ship for lunch, then we would head off to Lamego.

 

 

 

 

26 Replies to “St John of Tarouca and the fortified Ucanha Bridge and the Little Dog that could!”

  1. Hi 3Sisters, I find visiting Portugal vicariously through you very interesting. We only spent one week there in the Algarve and your photos and story make me want to return. There is so much we did not see. Your photos are beautiful. I especially like the one third from the bottom. Thank you for sharing:) Erica

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not at all religious yet it never ceases to amaze me just how much of a sense of peace I get immediately on stepping inside a church. When we were in France last year we went inside a lot and the feeling was the same – regardless of the size of the church. The only exception to that was Notre Dame. I’m thoroughly enjoying our tour of Portugal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So much history – and from SO long ago! I loved all the buildings (and the little dog was cute too). I’m so glad it’s been preserved for future generations to admire the ingenuity of those long dead monks.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.