The present building in the Alfama stands on the site of a 12th-century monastery founded by Portugal's first king Afonso Henriques. It was constructed for the Augustinian Order and was one of the most important monastic sites in Portugal. It was dedicated to the patron saint of Lisbon Saint Vincent of Saragossa, whose remains were relocated here from the Algarve. It was completely rebuilt in 1582 under the commission of King Phillip II and employed the architects Juan Herrera and Filippo Térzi. The church was completed in 1629 however the monastery itself wasn't completed until the 18th century.
Térzi brought an Italian Renaissance influence to the limestone façade of the church which is adorned with seven niched statues of saints. The church itself was constructed in the shape of a Latin cross, crowned with an ornate balustrade and two bell towers. Within the white marble interior, one finds within the single nave an impressive Baroque altarpiece commissioned by Dom João V in the 18th Century.
The cloisters of the monastery are decorated with azulejo tiles which date from the 18th century and depict the fall of Lisbon to the Moors. After the Augustinian order was banned from Portugal in 1834 the refectory became a pantheon for the Bragança dynasty. Also buried here is the last queen of Portugal Amélia, who died in 1951 along with Carlos I and her son Prince Luís Felipe, who was assassinated in the Praça do Comércio in 1908.