The nerve centre of the whole Monastery and obligatory stop on the way to all the monastery rooms, the Cloister was also a place for reading and meditation.
This is the only mediaeval cloister in Alcobaça Monastery. Built during the reign of King Dinis, most likely between 1308 and 1311, it was designed by Domingo Domingues and Master Diogo. It is one of the most beautiful Portuguese Gothic cloisters.
Later, when Manuel I was on the throne (1495-1521), the Abbot Jorge de Melo had an upper floor added (the Upper Cloister), designed by João de Castilho.
The whole Cloister features vaulted ceilings, with transverse round arches and ogives (transverse ribs). The vaulting coincides with the asymmetry in construction and are particularly irregular on the west side.
For a better understanding of the evolution of the overall construction work, it is important to note the archaism of some of the Cloister’s elements that sit alongside other elements that can be dated to the 15th century.