Those who visit Buçaco and its wood must not miss the chance to admire the old Convent of Santa Cruz. Founded in 1628, the Covent of the Barefoot Carmelites is a building that blends perfectly with Nature. It is a building where simplicity stands out as it should in a hermit community.When you stroll through this place which invites to meditation, admire the curious façade, covered with white quartz and coal tar inlaying, or the ceiling coated in cork and the cobblestone walls in the atrium. When entering the church, you’ll find a set of religious art works which are valuable because of their singularity. A Machada de Castro nativity play or a figure of Our Lady of Milk painted by Josefa de Óbidos, Italian sculptures representing the Virgin and biblical figures are some of the pieces decorating this place and tell the story of its devotion.
The Barefoot Carmelites
Buçaco lands were donated by the Bishop of Coimbra to the Barefoot Carmelites so that a monastery would be built there. Thus, the monks built a five kilometres wall to surround their lands and built the Convent of Santa Cruz, integrating it into the vegetation. At the same time, they opened walking paths through the woods where they built eleven shrines to pray. The wood, which was immediately preserved by the monastic community, was enlarged and renovated by the monks throughout the years and they were also responsible for introducing new exotic species, which came from overseas colonies, into the woods. Bussaco was then turned into a place for prayer, self-communion, penance and contemplation in harmony with Nature.