The Gothic was the dominant architectural style in Portugal, during the last centuries of the middle ages, evolving later on into the Manueline Style.
Brought to Portugal by the Cisterian Order, has in the Monastery of Alcobaça, its first example of the style, with the clear and simple architectural forms favoured by the Cistercians. One other monument used as the matrix, was the Santa Maria do Olival Church in Tomar. Several other religious orders came to adopt the same architectural style, having built several churches and monasteries from north to south of Portugal. Some magnificent examples are the Saint Francis Church in Santarém, Oporto’s Saint Francis Convent, the Monastery of Saint Clara-the-Old in Coimbra or the Convent of Saint Domingos of Elvas.
The main characteristics of this architectural style were its vaults built higher and bigger, supported by pilasters or column beams. Several of the thicker walls were to be replaces by Rose Windows and Stained Glass , resulting in a strong lighting indoors.
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