Estrela Basilica, Lisbon

The Estrela Basilica in Lisbon is a famous landmark that people from around the world come to enjoy and experience every year. It was commissioned in 1779 by Dona Maria I, who was then Queen Regent of Portugal. She had promised to build a church if she gave birth to a male to be heir to the throne. When her son José, Prince of Brazil was born, she set about to fulfill this promise. The Basilica was the result.

The Basilica was under construction between 1779 and 1790, when it was finally completed. However, Prince José never saw it finished, as he died of smallpox two years previously. The Estrela Basilica was designed by Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, who was an architect of the Mafra school. He died in 1786, and the Basilica was completed by Reinaldo Manuel de Sousa.

The Basilica is located on a hill in Lisbon and can be seen from a significant distance. It has a giant dome on top and two twin bell towers in front. Statues of saints and allegorical figures surround the building. The dome can be accessed by visitors and provides stunning views of Lisbon.

The building is based on the Basilica in Mafra and combines both Baroque and neoclassical architectural features. Grey, pink, and yellow marble was used to build the walls and the floor and was arranged in awe-inspiring geometric patterns. Paintings by Pompeo Battoni are displayed inside and give balance to the marble patterning that surrounds them. The Estrela Basilica is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Europe.

The Basilica's outstanding reputation, draws in thousands of visitors every year. One of the favorite parts of the Basilica among those visitors is a brilliantly constructed nativity scene inside the building made by Joaquim Machado de Castro. The nativity has over 500 cork and terra cotta figures comprising it and it is a wonder of 18th century sculpture. People also come to see the Latin cross floorplan, the splendidly outfitted tomb of Dona Maria I, the 1870 altarpiece made by Pompeo Batoni (the same person who supplied the Basilica's paintings), and the barrel-vaulted ceiling made with Italian marble.

The Estrela Basilica in Lisbon is a stunningly beautiful church and a loving tribute from a mother to her son. It is a must-see destination for any visitor to Lisbon.


menu