Church of Santa Catarina, Lisbon, Portugal

The Church of Santa Catarina, also known as Paulistas Church, has one of the most lavish baroque interiors and opulent ornate design of any Church in Lisbon. Though from the outside the church looks quite underplayed and simple, it hides a beautiful colourful stucco rococo ceiling, and paintings by some of Portugal’s best 18th century painters which sit within golden gilded frames.

The Church was originally part of a convent dating from 1647 however it became the parish church of Santa catarina after the dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal in 1834. At that time the Portuguese Civil War had drawn to its conclusion and the the state terminated the sanctioning of male religious orders, nationalising over 500 monasteries and their possessions in the process. The idea was to sell the property to poorer landowners but few could afford to and many of the properties fell into ruin. Most of the beautiful golden baroque decorations of the Church of Santa Catarina were added in 1727 and they really do add to the dramatic nature of this Church, a well chosen detour.

GPS: 38.71115, -9.14827

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