A special place for silence and spiritual contemplation
The Cartuxa Monastery was built for the Carthusian Order between 1587 and 1598 by Archbishop Teotonio of the House of Bragança. Kings of the Bragança dynasty later financed embellishments for the church: in the 17th century Pedro II added a marble portico and facade to its exterior, and in the 18th century João V added a retable altar gilded in gold leaf. For this reason the church was declared a national monument in 1910.
The monastery is close to Évora, where the sound of its bell, especially when it tolls at midnight, forms part of the fabric of this World Heritage museum-city. Today, the Cartuxa de Santa Maria Scala Coeli is regarded by locals as one of Evora’s artistic and spiritual treasures.
In 1834, revolutionary forces expelled the Carthusians, along with all other religious orders. The State took ownership of the monastery and used it as part of the city’s School of Agriculture, where the monumental church was turned into a grain store. However, it was rescued in 1871 when the Eugenio de Almeida family acquired the ruins.
In the mid-20th century the then heir, Vasco Maria, Earl of Vil’alva, decided to restore the monastery and return it to the Order of Saint Bruno. In 1960 the Carthusian Monks returned to the monastery at the invitation of the Foundation’s creator, who completely rebuilt and restored the building. The Convento de Santa Maria Scala Coeli or Cartuxa de Évora, property of the da Eugénio de Almeida Foundation, is a place of prayer of contemplation, the only presence of Carthusian Monks in Portugal.
From 1960 the Carthusian life was reborn and revived at Santa Maria Scala Coeli, open to all who wished to embrace meditation and prayer.
The Monastery is neighbour to the Cartuxa Winery, with whom it shares a bucolic atmosphere inviting serenity and retreat.