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

Neil Darler (5 months ago)
The convent is very impressive and walking around there is lots to see. The engraved stonework around the sides to the stone window frames. It was fairly busy but seemed peaceful. When toy go to the far end into the building you see statues and decorated walls. On the floor are glass platforms and you see steps and passages which unfortunately are closed off
Angela Pina (6 months ago)
The most fascinating part of this cultural spot is the story behind it, all you see in this pictures are the parts that survived a fire. Is incredible how the structure remained intact. Also has a museum where you can explore even fossils.
Peter Symmons (11 months ago)
Great place. Ruins & museum act as a permanent reminder of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. A good easy to digest museum, with well- labelled exhibits & a great video with potted history of the place. Thoroughly recommended.
Shruthi Nadig (13 months ago)
The ruins of the convent is very well maintained but there have been some vandalism on some of the pillars which is very sad to see. Tourists must be responsible. Definitely a great and must place to visit
Venkat Iyer (13 months ago)
It's a beautiful church or should I say remains of what was a beautiful church. The roof was destroyed during the earthquake in the 1700s but the rest of the architecture is amazing. The museum inside with the archaeological findings is interesting too. It is right in the middle of all the other main areas so if you have the time, do check this out and you won't be disappointed.
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