Convent of Carmo

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If you’re in Portugal’s capital Lisbon, it’s hard to miss the Convento do Carmo. The ruins of the former monastery of the Carmelite order are one of the most impressive sights of the city.

The building complex is perched on a hill above Lisbon in the middle of the city right next to the famous Elevador de Santa Justa. The historic elevator connects the two districts Baixa and Chiado and Bairro Alto. Besides the monastery, the ruins of the church Igreja do Carmo also belong to the Convento do Carmo. Today, the archaeological museum of Lisbon is located in the former convent church. The museum also houses some valuable and worth seeing artefacts as well as the tombs of the former Portuguese rulers King Dom Fernando I. and Dom Fernando Sanches. The ruined church, which is famous far beyond the country’s borders, is also the headquarters of the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists, which was founded in 1865.

Church ruins become a concert stage in summer

Built in the 15th century by order of Nuno Álvares Pereira, who was later canonised, the building was destroyed by a severe earthquake in 1755. Despite the subsequent extensive restoration at the beginning of the 19th century, the extensive damage is still clearly visible today. No wonder: after all, the restoration was not finished. Among other things, the nave of the Gothic church Igreja do Carmo is still missing its roof. You can still see two huge columns that supported the church roof before the devastating earthquake. During the summer months, various concert events take place in the church. One of the restored wings of the monastery is now also the headquarters of the Portuguese National Guard. The Convento do Carmo can be explored on historical guided tours. The entire monastery complex attracts numerous tourists from all over the world every year, especially during the summer months. Those who have the time during their visit to Lisbon should not miss a guided tour of the complex.