It’s worth taking some time to visit the Santa Clara Convent in the upper downtown area of our capital.
It was built in the 15th century by the donatary captain of Funchal, but little has changed over the centuries.
The church has a beautiful domed tower covered with tiles.
We enter the church through a beautiful gothic portal and inside there is an impressive tomb surrounded by gothic basalt arches.
Magnificent tiled panels cover its walls, forming the Marvila pattern that is the most intricate carpet tile modules ever made in Portugal. We believe that these panels are unique to two churches in Portugal: Santa Clara in Funchal and Marvila in mainland Portugal.
After entering the cloister, discover the Manueline basalt arches. Here you will find chapels with Portuguese features such as gilded wood carvings (“talha dourada”) and tiled panels.
An excellent example of Hispano-Arabic tiles is the original paving of the upper and lower choirs.
The upper choir has original Mudéjar ceilings and geometric arabesques.
The convent initially belonged to a Franciscan monastic order and was recently restored.
It will soon be open to the public, allowing visitors to see the Gothic cloisters, the chapels, the choirs and the beautiful church.
Susana Jardim (Official Tourist Guide)
Photo courtesy by Marla Castro