Jump to main content
Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

São Bento Palace – Assembly of the Portuguese Republic

  • Original Authors:
  • Baltazar Álvares
  • (1598)

  • Interventions:
  • Miguel Ventura Terra
  • (1936)

Not available in this edition

Meant to be a Benedictine convent, this palace dates back to 1598, the year its construction began, designed and conducted by Baltasar Álvares. Until 1833, the building belonged to the Black Monks of Tibães and was known as Monastery of S. Bento da Saúde. With the Liberal Revolution of 1820 and the extinction of religious orders, in 1834, the building was chosen to become the Palace of the Courts (parliament). The fire of 1895 made imperative its reconstruction, handed over to architect Ventura Terra, who designed a neoclassical project, an intervention that encompassed nearly the entire building. The powerful language became a constant allegory to the nation and its most representative personalities. Designed by António Lino and concluded by Cristino da Silva, the monumental staircase is added, in 1936, to the old convent, of Mannerist and Baroque styles. The palace is constituted by a central body with arcades on the ground floor, on which a colonnade gallery stands, topped by a triangular pediment decorated with stuccos. Its interior displays an aesthetic associated to the highest earnestness, emphasizing the uniqueness of the Noble Hall, the Sessions Chamber and the Hall of Lost Footsteps. Also notable is the old friar’s dining hall, which displays tile panels from the 18th century, the library founded by Passos Manuel and the Parliamentary Historical Archive. Once known as the Old Convent of São Bento da Saúde, the palace was classified as National Monument in 2002.

Praça da Constituição de 1976
Get Directions

Palaces and Convents

Photography not allowed

Loading Animation