O Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova localiza-se na freguesia de Santa Clara na cidade, Concelho e Distrito de Coimbra, em Portugal.
Foi construído no século XVII em substituição ao antigo mosteiro medieval de Santa Clara-a-Velha, vítima das inundações periódicas do rio Mondego.
O mosteiro é um importante repositório de arte portuguesa dos séculos XIV a XVIII e alberga os restos da Rainha Santa Isabel, fundadora do mosteiro original.
O mosteiro de Santa Clara de Coimbra foi originalmente fundado nos inícios do século XIV, perto das margens do rio Mondego. Isabel de Aragão, rainha de Portugal e esposa de D. Dinis, foi a principal benfeitora do mosteiro nos seus inícios, tendo-o escolhido como lugar de seu sepultamento.
As constantes inundações de que era vítima o velho mosteiro levaram à decisão de construir outro edifício para a comunidade de clarissas. Assim, as obras do actual mosteiro começaram em 1649, estando já a igreja e vários edifícios conventuais terminados em 1696, quando se mudaram as últimas monjas. O arquitecto responsável pelo projecto foi João Torriano, frade beneditino, engenheiro-mor do reino e professor de matemática da Universidade de Coimbra.
Na rica igreja maneirista, o lugar de honra cabe à urna de prata com óculos de cristal contendo o corpo incorrupto da Rainha Santa Isabel, instalado em 1696 e custeado pelo povo de Coimbra. O túmulo original, uma única pedra, mandado fazer pela própria rainha, jaz no coro baixo, onde painéis de madeira policromática contam a história da sua vida.
O grande claustro construído pelo húngaro Carlos Mardel, foi custeado por D. João V em 1733.
The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova is a monastery in Coimbra, Portugal. It was built to replace the mediaeval Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, located nearby, which at the time was prone to frequent flooding by the waters of the Mondego river. The monastery was built in the 17th and 18th centuries and is classified as a National Monument. It is located in the Santa Clara parish.
The feminine Monastery of Santa Clara of Coimbra was founded in the early 14th century near the river Mondego by Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Dinis I. The queen was greatly admired during and after her life for her pious and generous nature, and was canonised in the 17th century.
Through the centuries, the church and monastic buildings were repeatedly flooded by the Mondego. In the 17th century, under the rule of King John IV, it was decided that a new monastery was to be built for the religious community. Construction works began in 1649, and the church was finished by 1696. All nuns as well as the Gothic tombs of Queen Elizabeth and other royal princesses were transferred to the new monastery, thereby called "Santa Clara-a-Nova" (Saint Clare-the-New).
The project of the monastery was entrusted to Father João Turriano, a benedictine monk and royal engineer, who conceived the ensembe in the simple Mannerist style of 17th century Portugal. Construction works were led by royal architect Mateus do Couto. The church, consecrated in 1696, is of rectangular floorplan, has a single-aisled nave and lacks a transept. The interior is illuminated by a series of windows (clerestory) located on the second storey of the nave.
The side chapels and main chapel house a total of 14 altarpieces of gilt woodwork (talha dourada) from the late 17th-century style. The main altarpiece, in particular, is an outstanding example of the so-called "national" style (estilo nacional). This altarpiece incorporates the tomb of the Saint Queen Elizabeth, founder of the monastery, made of silver and crystal, encharged in 1614 to artisans Domingos Lopes and Manuel Moreira. The statue of the Saint Queen Elizabeth is a 19th century work by sculptor António Teixeira Lopes.
The main portal to the church, decorated with the royal coat of arms held by two angels, is located at the south façade, as was typical for feminine convents in Portugal. The gate of the convent is a late Baroque work of 1761 attributed to Hungarian architect Carlos Mardel. Mardel is also credited for having designed at least part of the two-storey cloisters of the convent, a masterpiece of Portuguese Baroque architecture.
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