Of all the convents that once existed in Funchal, only the ‘Santa Clara’ and ‘Bom Jesus’ Convents survived. The convents ‘Encarnação’, ‘Mercês’ and ‘São Francisco’ were either demolished or fell to ruin. By letting this happen, an important cultural heritage was lost forever.
When the Franciscans came to the island the first time, they settled in a modest place. Then they left the island for some years and when they returned again, they temporarily put up their community at the former São João Hospital and started looking for a more convenient site to build their own convent, which they found on the grounds where today’s Municipal Garden and the Municipal Theatre are located.
In 1878 the town council appointed a commission of town councillors to realize a project for a garden on the ground of the extinct convent. In 1885 this garden received the name ‘Jardim Municipal’ (Municipal Garden), later it was changed into ‘Jardim Dona Amélia’ in memory of the Queen but people still continue calling it ‘Jardim Municipal’ today.
Boasting 8300 square meters of beautiful flowers, plants and trees indigenous to Madeira as well as many other exotic species from all over the world, this garden is now a leisure area with shadow providing trees, a small pond featuring ducks and black or white swans, a café and an amphitheatre with a covered stage where often entertainment events and concerts take place.