Typical houses in the Ribeira district, PORTO

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PORTO - THE LEFT BANK: VILA NOVA DE GAIA
What to See
SERRA DO PILAR MONASTERY

The buttresses of this grandiose monument, which stands on a steep cliff overlooking the Douro, are a striking sight for anyone crossing the D. Luís bridge (built by Eiffel). A very interesting church and circular cloister (rare in Portugal) have been preserved. The church has a tall, round nave and dates from the 16th. century. It is covered by a fine barrel vault in granite with decorative tiles.

There are some fine carved Portuguese altarpieces with solomonic columns and a series of 18th. century wood carvings. The chancel has a panelled barrel vault and the sacristy a cylindrical vault, together with another added during the Pombaline era.
It offers a view over a very scenic part of Porto. From the monastery walls you can see the River Douro and, against the background of the rows of houses that hug the hillside, the Cathedral Towers, Clérigos Tower (a Porto landmark), the former Bishop’s Palace and the Ribeira (docks) area by the riverside.

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