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Mosteiro Crato Pousada

quarto pousada mosteiro crato

This is the best-preserved fortified monastery in the Iberian Peninsula, although the structure and style initially seem more like that of a castle, dating back to a time when the Alentejo’s borders were constantly under threat. For different times, different uses: what was once the Santa Maria da Flor da Rosa monastery is now the Mosteiro Crato Pousada, whose tall windows offer a less defensive and more harmonious feel, immersed in greenery. 

The original building dates back to the 14th century, when Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira – father of Nuno Álvares Pereira, the Saint Constable – had the monastery constructed. It was attributed to the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order (also called the Order of Malta), founded during the time of Crusades, which explains the convent’s more bellicose appearance.

According to archaeologists, the monastery has seen its fair share of building work since its initial construction, with layers and layers of history superimposed. For centuries it remained functional, surviving the Restoration wars, the 1755 earthquake and other disasters, such as fires and landslides. Its future was to be somewhat fragile. In 1910, when the Flor da Rosa Monastery was declared a national monument, it had already been abandoned for almost a century. In the 1940s, the State began restoration work, but it wasn’t until 50 years later that it was converted into a pousada.

Carrilho da Graça, the architect responsible for the new design, described the space as “labyrinthine” on his first visit. It’s easy to see why. Additions had been made to the Gothic structure over the centuries, but with one common feature: “The clash of fragments from so many different eras is unified by granite.”

The old wing was restored, while a new one was built from scratch, forming an L shape. The old part has most of the common areas, some rooms, as well as the suites and master suite (located on the tower’s three floors). The new wing has 13 rooms, which are located in the long building that leads to the Turkish bath, sauna and indoor pool, while offering views of the countryside and no artificial lighting. 

Nestled within the L of the buildings, we find the peaceful garden. Close by is the outdoor swimming pool, elevated, surrounded by a mixture of architecture and nature: first the stone, then the trees. This is the view from the old wing, which offers the best sunset vistas. Other interesting spots include the fireplace lounge and games room, although nothing can beat the restaurant and bar, which are housed in the monastery’s old refectory – the loveliest part of the whole pousada.

exterior da Pousada Mosteiro do Crato

Mosteiro Crato Pousada

In the Iberian Peninsula there is no other building like this so well preserved: a fortified monastery that today gave way to the Pousada Mosteiro Crato.

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