Cloister of Silence
The Cloister of Silence of the Monastery of Santa Cruz is considered to be one of the most famous cloisters in Portugal.
The current cloister was reconstructed in 1517 by Marcos Pires, over another cloister from the Romanesque period. Built in Manueline style, it received strong domes and naturalistic decorations, well evident in the arches and the alcove that holds the so called Paio de Guterres Fountain. The fountain served as a washbasin for the friars because of its proximity to the dining hall.
Several chapels still exist in the cloister. Among them, the Chapel of Jesus stands out for its Manueline style dome.
In the centre of the lawn, you can see a double bowl fountain topped by a sculpture of the Guardian Angel holding the Coat of Arms of Portugal.
A series of bas-relief sculpture panels by Nicolau Chanterene can be seen in three of the four corners. They represent the Passion of Christ, but only three cycles remain here: Ecce Homo, Calvary and Descent from the Cross.
The tiles that overlay part of the walls within the galleries represent, as a subject for meditation, the Beatitudes and Parables of Jesus Christ.
There are several tombs and tombstones around the cloister, each of them with a unique history of its own.
In the south wing, between the Chapel of Jesus and the entrance to the Chapter Room, is the original tomb of Dom Telo. To the right of the arch upon the entrance of the Chapter Room, is the tomb of the second Prior of the Monastery, and adjacent to it, you can find the location where the bones of the five Martyrs of Morocco were deposited. The following tomb is of reduced dimensions and belongs to one of the grandsons of the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques. A little further on, you can notice a tile that indicates the site of Dom Miguel Salomão's tomb.