Located in the heart of old Porto, parish of Vitória, the Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória - classified as a National Monument in 1977 - is one of the most important religious buildings in the city. Once inside the walls, next to the Porta do Olival and occupying part of the old Jewish quarter, it is currently part of the Cordoaria, just below the old Cadeia da Relação, a building occupied by the Portuguese Center of Photography. At the end of the 16th century, after difficult negotiations, the monks of the former Portuguese Benedictine Congregation decided to build the Monastery as a mark of monastic presence and point of support for the devout who moved from North to South and vice versa. The city of Porto was, at the time, a breeding ground for distinguished monks and the Monastery stands out as a monument of importance due to its architectural grandeur and the activity of the monks, especially in terms of music and singing, creating here a veritable school, of which the imposing Church organ is still an emblem. Granted the necessary royal authorization in 1598, the project was attributed to the architect Diogo Marques Lucas, a former disciple of Filipe Terzi.
The building works started in 1604 and lasted until the end of the century. The adjacent Church was built in 1693, but the decorative campaigns in the interior lasted until the end of the 18th century. It was a long process, reflected in the architecture of Mannerist and Baroque typology, as well as in the ornamentation of the Church, with works from different periods and of great significance in the context of Portuguese art history. The first stone of the Noble Cloister was laid in 1608. A monumental building, built in granite, the cloister is completed in the triennium of 1725-1728. The magnificent monastic house will, however, have a troubled history. In 1808, during the Peninsular War, the Monastery was converted into a Military Hospital and in 1835, after the expulsion of the Religious Orders, it was turned into a Military Court and a Solitary House, as well as the Quarters for the Regimento of Infantry 31 and Engineering. Between 1985 and 1990, IPPAR subjected the Monastery to restoration works (carried out by the architects Carlos Guimarães and Luís Soares Carneiro), respecting the original plan and various elements of architectural value, and allowing the installation of Benedictine monks, the National Orchestra of Porto and the Porto District Archive.
Within the scope of Porto 2001 - European Capital of Culture - the Noble Cloister is covered by an acoustic shell, a steel metallic structure based on four pillars, and a wooden floor is also laid out. In 2007, the State attributed to the TNSJ a significant part of the building - the east wing, part of the south wing and the Noble Cloister, a space where it organizes theatrical shows, concerts and special events from its program, while also welcoming outdoor initiatives of various nature.