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

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Simone Silva (7 months ago)
A magnificent old church that now has the sky as its ceiling. We went to Lisbon Under The Stars here at the time that the show was on which was incredibly beautiful, definitely recommend.
Micaela Almeida (8 months ago)
Beautiful historic building in the town centre! Its story is rather charming so do get a tour if you can. During the summer they host light shows here and they're just wonderful!
Gonzalo Martín Amador (9 months ago)
A must if you're in Lisbon. One of the most beautiful convents I've ever seen in my life. The details are just amazing and you can feel yourself back in time while you're walking through the corridors of the Convent. Highly recommended. There are some discounts, so check it out.
Ricardo van Dijk (9 months ago)
Amazing historic site! The main structure was severely damaged by Lisbon’s 1755 earthquake and restoration efforts were interrupted in the XIXth century. The inexistent ceiling only makes it more beautiful! There is also a museum with very interesting artifacts dating back to pre-historic periods. A must visit!
Marlene Ryan (10 months ago)
Lisbon under Stars, which is a light show within the ruin, was a fun and cool way to learn about the history of the building and Lisbon itself.
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