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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Details

Founded: 1389
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Klaus Bellinghausen (20 months ago)
education, important to see how earlier humans felt about themselves and the kept the legacy of others live. slim picking but worth the €4
Olaf Stankiewicz (20 months ago)
A place that witnessed the greatest disaster in Lisbon. The main hall has a surreal atmosphere thanks to its current shape, whereas the museum part houses few interesting artifacts from the past. Neither expensive, nor time-consuming. An extra star for a cat which allows the visitors to stroke him
Magda Mach (20 months ago)
Amazing museum! Since you can see the ruins of the convent from the outside, I wasn't sure if I actually needed to visit it but I am definitely happy I did. The view is much more impressive from the inside and the museum has quite a lot of interesting pieces including mummies and other artefacts from around the world.
Sammy (20 months ago)
I was lucky enough to where my Airbnb was right around the corner to this site which looked over a good portion of Lisbon, the bay, and the castle. Museums, musicians, plenty of food all along the cobblestone roads. Close by amazing and vibrant neighborhoods at night and everyone of the locals was helpful and pleasant. One of my favorite cities to visit!
Marie Salvino (21 months ago)
This place was pretty cool. The remains are beautiful and the story behind them is very sad. You can go in and see the ruins and when you all through them there is a little museum at the back where you can see more information and objects from the convent. You can see cracks in the wall from the earthquake and a well and other interesting things. We had to go back twice because they were closed when we went originally and I’m glad we did.
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