Assembly of the Republic (São Bento Palace)

Assembly of the Republic (São Bento Palace)
Assembly of the Republic (São Bento Palace)
Assembly of the Republic (São Bento Palace)
Assembly of the Republic (São Bento Palace)

The Assembly of the Republic occupies the former Benedictine monastery of São Bento da Saúde, which was dissolved in 1833 when the religious orders were expelled from Portugal. The original building was constructed in 1598 in the Mannerist style and was adopted in 1834 as the seat of the Cortes (Parliament) with two chambers, that of the Peers and that of the Deputies. To ready it for this function, it underwent successive works from 1835 onwards, which were resumed in 1895 following a major fire that destroyed part of the building. These new works lasted from the end of the 19th century until 1943, the last 20 years of which were marked by the introduction of a style more in keeping with the nationalism of Salazar’s New State.
The Assembly building is characterised by a style marked by allegory to the Nation and its great men. A major feature of the magnificent façade, reached by a grand staircase, is the monumental sculpted pediment representing the Nation enthroned. The building is entered via a magnificent atrium, formerly the church of the Benedictine monastery, which leads to a monumental grand staircase completed under the New State (1936/37), with sculpture groups crowning the doorways and historical paintings in praise of the Nation (The Defence of the Nation and the Nation’s Prosperity) at the top of the staircase. The Great Hall is another important feature of this tour. Also completed under the New State, it was used to host official functions in the 1940s. Here too, the nationalist style predominates, with its profusion of heraldic elements and wall paintings evoking the period of the Portuguese Discoveries. The same earnest nationalistic style also predominates in the Debating Chamber. Inaugurated in 1903, the Chamber is the work of the architect Ventura Terra who, influenced by architecture in iron and glass, designed a massive skylight to light the Chamber. Worthy of note in the Chamber are the allegorical statues on themes related to the legislature’s functions (Diplomacy, Jurisprudence, Justice and Eloquence) and a painting depicting the first Portuguese Constituent Assembly in 1821, which resulted in the first Constitution. The Debating Chamber is laid out in a semicircle, following the political arrangement of the French National assembly (left and right).
Also worth seeing are the former monastery refectory, which features groups of late 18th century decorative tile panels, the Assembly library, founded by Passos Manuel and designed to resemble a monastery library, and the parliamentary bookshop, designed in the modern minimalist style.
It´s a National Monument.

 Guided Tour 


Bus: 701, 709, 773
Tram: 25E,


  +351 213 919 000


Palácio de S. Bento

Region: Estrela

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