Igreja de São Roque

Lisbon, Portugal

The Igreja de São Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon was the earliest Jesuit church in the Portuguese world, and one of the first Jesuit churches anywhere. It served as the Society’s home church in Portugal for over 200 years, before the Jesuits were expelled from that country. After the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the church and its ancillary residence were given to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (the Charity House of Lisbon) to replace their church and headquarters which had been destroyed. It remains a part of the Santa Casa today, one of its many heritage buildings.

The Igreja de São Roque was one of the few buildings in Lisbon to survive the earthquake relatively unscathed. When built in the 16th century it was the first Jesuit church designed in the “auditorium-church” style specifically for preaching. It contains a number of chapels, most in the Baroque style of the early 17th century. The most notable chapel is the 18th-century Chapel of St. John the Baptist, a project by Nicola Salvi and Luigi Vanvitelli constructed in Rome of many precious stones and disassembled, shipped and reconstructed in São Roque; at the time it was reportedly the most expensive chapel in Europe.



Your name

Website (optional)


Founded: 1506
Category: Religious sites in Portugal


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

St Veo (5 months ago)
One of the nicest cathedrals I have ever been and I already so a lot. My absolute favorite. 5*
Mark McConachie (6 months ago)
The exterior gives away nothing of the riches that lie within. The interior is stunning, an absolute masterpiece on alter craftsmanship. And there are so many of them. My camera would not do them justice, you must visit to see. Highly recommended.
Mike Benson (7 months ago)
Arguably the best church in Lisbon. Not too overrun by tourists. Go by taxi as it's on a steep hill. See the church and then walk downhill to find a nice restaurant.
Aaron Wileman (7 months ago)
Beautiful church. Well worth a visit inside and taking your time to explore each of the altars. Is was decorated at Xmas with colourful paper birds which gave an even more splendid feel to the ambiance of it inside. Right in the middle of tourist areas this has not lost its charge and is still a great place for quiet and reflection
Thomas Ozbun (9 months ago)
One of the best churches in town (if not THE best). A baroque gem, with beautiful chapels all around. The most beautiful, dedicated to St John the Baptist, has some splendid marbles and was designed by two really famous italian architects to be built in Rome and was then brought by boat and rebuilt inside the church. Also noteworthy the beautiful Mannerist ceiling (a rarity in Portugal). It was interesting to learn that it was one of the first Jesuit churches in Portugal.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla were the second largest Roman public baths, or thermae, in Rome. It was built between AD 212 and 217, during the reigns of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They would have had to install over 2,000t of material every day for six years in order to complete it in this time. 

The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War, at which time the hydraulic installations were destroyed. The bath was free and open to the public. The earthquake of 847 destroyed much of the building, along with many other Roman structures.

The building was heated by a hypocaust, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. It was in use up to the 19th century. The Aqua Antoniniana aqueduct, a branch of the earlier Aqua Marcia, by Caracalla was specifically built to serve the baths. It was most likely reconstructed by Garbrecht and Manderscheid to its current place.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the design of the baths was used as the inspiration for several modern structures, including St George's Hall in Liverpool and the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City. At the 1960 Summer Olympics, the venue hosted the gymnastics events.