Carmo Convent Ruins

Lisbon, Portugal

The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel medieval convent was ruined during the sequence of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The destroyed Gothic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the southern facade of the convent is the main trace of the great earthquake still visible in the old city.

The convent was founded in 1389 by the Constable D. Nuno Álvares Pereira (supreme military commander of the King), from the small Carmelite convent situated on lands acquired from his sister Beatriz Pereira and the admiral Pessanha. The reconstruction of the convent began sometime in 1393.

In 1407 the presbytery and apses of the convent church was concluded, resulting in the first liturgical acts in that year. By 1423 the residential cells were completed, allowing the Carmelites from Moura (southern Portugal) to inhabit the building, including Father Nuno de Santa Maria, the Constable D. Nuno Àlvares Pereira who donated his wealth to the convent and entered the convent.

In 1755, an earthquake off the coast of Portugal caused significant damage to the convent and the destruction of the library. The 126 clerics at the time were forced to abandon the building.

Minor repairs to the convent were carried out in 1800; roof tiles were repaired at this time to protect the sames from weather. Between 1911 and 1912, the walls around the Carmo Convent were reconstructed, with various arches built, under the authorship of architect Leonel Gaia.

Today the nave and apse of the Carmo Church are the setting for a small archaeological museum, with pieces from all periods of Portuguese history. The nave has a series of tombs, fountains, windows and other architectural relics from different places and styles.

The old apse chapels are also used as exhibition rooms. One of them houses notable pre-historical objects excavated from a fortification near Azambuja (3500–1500 BC).

The group of Gothic tombs include that of Fernão Sanches, a bastard son of King Dinis I, (early 14th century), decorated with scenes of boar hunting, as well as the magnificent tomb of King Ferdinand I (reign 1367-1383), transferred to the museum from the Franciscan Convent of Santarém. Other notable exhibits include a statue of a 12th-century king (perhaps Afonso Henriques), Spanish-Moorish azulejos and objects from the Roman and Visigoth periods.



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Founded: 1389
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Is Private (4 months ago)
If you're into old architecture and ruins this is very cool to see and it's only 5 Euro. Some very interesting artifacts and I think worth the admission price.
Filip Nikolic (4 months ago)
Loved this place. I almost did not go, but I am glad I decided to visit. It is in the very centre of Lisbon and it costs 5€. Ruins are impressive and small exhibition rooms are full of nice findings (including 2 mummies). Sarcofaguses were my highlights and oh... the cat that lives there!
Sheryl Yu (4 months ago)
An attraction that has been extremely under estimated! I love this museum so much. It is not big, but it is telling you a very interesting story about the past, about its history in Lisbon. The entrance ticket is cheap but extremely valuable. There were some highlights of my time here - first of all I met the mascot, I couldn't remember how long I played with him. He is very cute and friendly and clingy with me!! Second I was amazed by the 3D movie they made for this museum. It is a "must-see" of this place! It is within the indoor display area but on the left side of the entrance. Do not miss the short movie, do not skip the movie, make sure you watch it full (it is rolling) with a 3min ish break in between. The movie was made in 2 languages and mixed spoke (Portuguese then English). The story was so interesting that you would fall into it easily. The special effect was made to fit the actual wall in the room. At the end of the movie, you can even see the mascot walking through on the screen. Slow down, take some time, Carmo Convent is definitely worthy of visiting.
Robert Chomicz (4 months ago)
This is a small, but interesting museum. Due to the fact that its located in a ruined medieval convent it feels somehow more authentic. Fairly cheap price of admission, but there is not so much to see that you'd wanna be there for more than an hour, tops. Still, charming and vaguely impressive.
Harry B (7 months ago)
Very large convent in scale, with grand columns towering above you as you look up. Amazing to think how grand in stature this would have been. It's going through a big renovation project, which will help restore it to some former glory. Nice displays inside, with very detailed descriptions.
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