Villages

Santiago Church and Cabrais Pantheon

Belmonte

Belmonte

The church and pantheon form a set that has been classified as a National Monument. It is an example of religious architecture with stylistic, Romanesque, gothic and mannerist characteristics. There is a cornice decorated with spheres, corbel work with geometric, animal and human motifs. It is thought to have been built in 1240 by order to Maria Gil Cabral, who had Nossa Senhora da Piedade Chapel built there. Capela dos Cabrais was built there in 1433 by Pedro Álvares Cabral’s parents. Murals were painted in it also in the 15th century. In 1630, Francisco Cabral had the façade refurbished, the choir loft built and the frescos repainted. Inside there are traces of the frescoes and a 14th century Pietà, which José Saramago said was the finest piece in the church. This gothic image of Our Lady of Sorrows is a sculpture carved from the block of local granite and is about 1.5 metres high. The fresco ins the chancel shows St James, Our Lady of Hope and St Peter, which some say represents Pedro Álvares Cabral. This painting may have been an offering by or for him. The other painting is thought to have been painted by several artists, due to the superimposition of layers of gypsum and clearly different qualities of painting. It represents Saint Luzia. The nearby bell tower was built in 1860. The ashes of Pedro Álvares Cabral and other family members rest in this chapel.