SESSION 2 | MARCH 2 | 11:00-12:45

Chair António Marques (CAL-CML)

On the cultural overlap in the Middle Ages. A reflection based on the Islamic remains identified in the cloister of the Sé of Lisbon

11:00-11:30 |  Paulo Almeida Fernandes (NOVA FCSH)

The sequence of historical times is often told from the civilizational and cultural overlapping by peoples who succeeded each other in occupying the same spaces. This overlap is not limited to the replacement of buildings by others better suited to the function and image of the new occupants of a given place. In the medieval history of the Iberian west, destruction and construction were registered, but also adaptations, new utilizations, and surprising preservations. Contrary to what has been said to public opinion, the extraordinarily long excavation in the cloister of Lisbon's cathedral has not yet provided unequivocal elements regarding a supposedly natural superimposition of the Romanesque cathedral over an Almoravid mosque. It is the starting point for a reflection on the distance that so often manifests itself between the medieval written record and current archaeological evidence.

The "church that was a mosque" of Mértola

11:30-12:00 |  Susana Gómez Martínez (UÉ|CAM-CEAACP)

In Duarte Darmas' drawing of Mértola in 1509, we can read "Igeja que foy misquita" [church that was a mosque], an undeniable testimony of the awareness that the Muslim past of the Christian temple still existed. At that time, the process of the slow transformation of the building had not yet modified the roofing system of the mosque and the minaret was still standing. Here we analyze the evolution of the temple from its foundations, still surrounded by many doubts, to the modifications proposed for its future in the 21st century.

The Aljama Mosque of Coimbra. Identification hypothesis through an analysis of the urban fabric

12:00-12:30 | Pedro Vasco Martins (FormaUrbis Lab - FAUL)

Coimbra was one of the most relevant Islamic cities in West Iberian Peninsula. The city would certainly have had a major mosque or aljama, a central part of the life of its important Islamic community, yet there is no evidence to date to identify its location, and this question remains one of the most intriguing gaps in the city's history. Considering the evolution of urban form is defined by the continuous construction of new buildings that adapt to pre-existing elements, this process often preserves remains of ancient structures, allowing us to read, interpret and reconstruct the past form of the city. Thus, in the absence of traditional archaeological or historical evidence, a morphological study of the urban fabric can be an important complementary source of information. In fact, this methodological approach not only allows the identification of a new building which no one ever considered - the ancient Church of St. Peter, which is clearly in an anomalous position in relation to the surrounding urban fabric -, but through comparison with other cases it also offers the possibility of interpreting and reconstructing the form of the ancient aljama mosque of Coimbra, as well as its probable initial chronology and subsequent conversion into a church.


Paulo Almeida Fernandes (Lisbon, 1974). PhD in Art History from the University of Coimbra and a MA degree in Art, Heritage and Restoration from the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon, BA degree in Art History from the same school. He is currently a visiting professor at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the New University of Lisbon and coordinator of Research and Inventory Services at the Museum of Lisbon. He is also a researcher at the Institute of History of Art at the New University of Lisbon and a collaborator at the Institute of Medieval Studies.

Susana Gómez Martínez. PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2004); assistant professor at the University of Évora since 2019; researcher at the Archaeological Camp of Mértola (since 1992); and integrated researcher in the Center for Studies in Archaeology Arts and Heritage Sciences (since 2008). She also collaborates with other research centers in Portugal and Spain, namely CIDEHUS and Laboratório Hércules. She was a PhD (1997-2000) and post-doctoral fellow (2008-2009) of FCT, and researcher in the Science 2008 Program (FCT) at the University of Coimbra (2009-2014). She dedicates her research to medieval and modern history and archaeology, with special focus on the Islamic period, but also develops an intense activity related to the enhancement of cultural heritage.

Pedro Vasco Martins. Architect. BA degree in Architecture for Urban Management from the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Lisbon. PhD student with a doctoral thesis about "The persistence of urban forms. Leitura das pré-existências na construção da cidade portuguesa", with a grant from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. Researcher of the FormaUrbis Lab, at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon.