Carmo Convent
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Carmo Convent

The evocative ruins of Lisbon's former largest church stand defiant as a poignant memorial to one of the deadliest earthquakes in human history. Its arches and pillars resemble a flesh bare carcass overlooking the Baixa district below. Despite the devastating state of Carmo Convent, it continues to impresses visitors with its medieval architecture and awesome presence.


Convento do Carmo

The outer walls of the Convento do Carmo

Following the Christian reconquest of Lisbon, several convents were founded on this site: the St Francis Convent from 1217 AD, Espárito Santo da Pedreira 1279 AD and the Trindade Convent 1291 AD. The origins of the Carmo Convent date from the late 14th Century. By 1551 it had a religious community of 70 monks. Affiliated with the convent was a library that contained 5000 volumes. On the morning of All-Saint’s Day, 1st of November 1755, Lisbon's churches had a full congregation when a magnitude nine earthquake struck and brought ceilings down upon the faithful. Following the tremor, Lisbon was also battered by a series of devastating tsunamis. Much of what remained then had to endure five days of raging fires. It was one of the most severe disasters in history. Fatality estimates range from 10,000 to 100,000 souls. The destruction was indiscriminate. The quake destroyed royal palaces as well as homes, shops and religious institutions.

Lisbon was eventually able to move on. The downtown district was rebuilt using seismically resistant construction techniques, and damaged buildings were repaired. All except for the Carmo Convent. It was intentionally left roofless and in a state of ruin as a prominent memorial for those who perished.

Carmo Archaeological Museum (Museu Arqueológico do Carmo)

Located in the former main altar is a small archaeological museum with an eclectic collection of tombs, including the two-metre tall stone sepulchre of King Ferdinand I and the tomb of Gonçalo de Sousa, chancellor to Henry the Navigator. Other interesting exhibits include a 15th-century alabaster relief, carved in Nottingham and 16th-century Arabesque azulejos, Visigothic artefacts and ancient coins. Look out for a model of the convent depicting how it looked before the earthquake. Among the more ancient finds is a remnant from a Visigothic pillar and a Roman tomb carved with reliefs depicting the Muses. There are macabre exhibits such as shrunken heads, pre-Columbian South American mummies, and an Egyptian sarcophagus (793–619 BC), the inhabitant’s feet are just visible behind the lid. At the entrance of the museum is a stone engraved with gothic lettering, informing visitors that Pope Clement VII granted 40 days of indulgence to "any faithful Christian" who visits this church.
High Season: Monday – Saturday: 10h00 – 19h00, Low Season: Monday – Saturday: 10h00 – 18h00. Sunday: CLOSED
Adult: €5.00, Consessionary: €4.00, Child Under 14: €4.00, Lisbon Card Lisbon Card: - 20%

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Carmo Archaeological Museum (Museu Arqueológico do Carmo)

Getting to the Convento do Carmo

15 & 25
Baixa-Chiado station on the Blue & Green Lines
Contact Details
1 Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal.
38° 42' 43.2"N | 09° 08' 26.0"W | +351 213 460 473 / 478 629 |  Website