This impressive Pousada, housed in a 13th-century Franciscan convent, is located in the heart of the historical town of Beja in the Alentejan plain. Despite the fact that it is in the middle of a city, the solid white walls, vaulted ceilings and elegant sitting rooms give off an air of calm and quiet. Surrounded by lawns, palm trees and with an inviting outdoor pool this is the perfect place to stay cool even in the intense heat of mid-summer. The bedrooms (which are of modest, though comfortable, proportions as they were once monk’s cells!) are now beautifully furnished to the highest standards, and are positioned around three sides of a cloister.
The first records of the convent date from the 10th November 1268, noting the donation of lands for its construction from Paio Pires to Lopo Esteves. In 1304 according to the legend, D. Dinis ordered the construction of a chapel in honour of Saint Louis for his help during a bear attack that occurred in a hunt near the Guadiana River.
The first improvements took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, namely the refectory and in the cloister. New dormitories were then added during the rein of Kings D. Pedro II and D. João V. With the closure of the religious orders in 1834, the convent was stripped and most of its gold-plated altars where transferred to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
The proposal for the conversion of the building into a Pousada was signed in 1992, retaining the old church which is now used for events, business meetings and weddings.
The tranquility, beauty and immense sense of history cannot but move you as you stroll around the corridors and chapels and cross the gardens to enjoy the views of this impressive convent from the comfort of a lounger by the pool. The gardens are a painter's paradise, full of images just crying out to be set to canvas.
Beja is situated on a small hill overlooking the Alentejan plains. It is a lovely town with a charming historic centre with white-washed buildings and narrow cobbled streets to stroll around and admire the sights. The impressive 13th century Castelo de Beja dominates over the town, offering beautiful panoramic views. The regional Museu da Rainha D. Leonar is a must-see; situated in an impressive building the museum houses an interesting collection of artwork.
The roman ruins at Pisões are situated just 30 minutes away from the town where there is an impressive excavation of a Roman villa displaying evidence of fascinating Roman domestic architecture.
Beja is a great stop-over while exploring the Alenteijo region, with its vineyards and peaceful fields echoing for miles into the distance.