São Paulo Church

Built in the 17th century, this belonged to the no longer existing Convent of São Paulo. With religious orders abolished in 1834, the Church was handed over to the Fraternity of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda (Our Lady of Assistance), whose statue can be found in a façade niche. This is a fine example of what is termed “tea” architecture using a Mannerist approach with simple forms (flat), only partially offset by their decorative adornments.

The façade is distinguished by both its narthex, an inner gallery that precedes entrance into the place of worship, and its parastas that intersperse the respective tones. In addition to the statue of Our Lady of Ajuda (Succour), there is also a medallion to Saint Paul.

Inside, in one nave, there is the carving on the main chapel´s retable as well as the two transept chapels and the four lateral altars in the church´s main section. The church also holds a good collection of paintings and statues from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. They were collected from various of Tavira´s churches on the pretext of setting up a museum of sacred art. This has never actually happened. The pavement is 13th century with a design made up of crossed red tiles with Spanish losetas (small squares of painted clay). Although this was characteristic of those times, there are few so well preserved examples in Portugal.

Photo: www.panoramio.com

Coordinates: 37.128049,-7.649854