Igreja do Carmo, Lisbon

The famous ruins of the Igreja do Carmo are what now remains of the only church constructed in Lisbon that predominantly reflects pure Gothic design. This structure and the Se Patriarchal are among the very few medieval structures now standing within the city of Lisbon. To understand the original dimensions and perspective once viewable in this now partially standing, elegant structure, visitors must see the eastern section’s chancel. It is the only area of this three-aisled church in which the roofing is currently intact. The tall Gothic arches still stretch skyward. Across from the attractive portal entranceway is a lovely Manueline window dating from the early Mosteiro dos Jeronimos of Belem, which was never reconstructed following the earthquake of 1755. This remarkable landmark is located on Largo do Carmo in Lisbon.

Of special interest to visitors of Igreja do Carmo are the following noted historical site features:

Carmo Archeological Museum. - Located within the Convento da Ordem do Carmo (Carmo Convent) and founded in 1864, the Carmo Archeological Museum is a valuable and frequently visited historical site in Lisbon. The museum is on Largo do Carmo in the Chiado district of the city. Its noted exhibits reveal important aspects of Portugal’s early history art that were abandoned, including Pre-Columbian collection, pre-historic artifacts from different locations. Although restoration of this major historical site was never completely accomplished after it was seriously damaged by the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, this valued collection is on exhibit for visitors to view in the apse and nave of the convent.

Largo do Carmo. - The historic and beautiful Largo do Carmo is home to other points of interest to travelers as well as the frequently viewed ruins of the Igreja do Carmo. The elegant Chafariz do Carmo was constructed in this area in 1796. Surrounding this famous fountain is a block ornate with four figures of dolphins completed by an overhead cupola supported by four pillars.

Quartel do Carmo. - The building adjacent to the Igreja do Carmo houses the headquarters for modern riot police, the Guarda Nacional Republicana. During the revolution that took place on the 25th of April in 1974, the head of the government, Marcelo Caetano, along with other members of his political regime, retreated within this building seeking protection. However, after these headquarters were endangered by threats from their opponents, the politicians surrendered and Caetano was escorted to the airport so he could leave Portugal.

There are numerous fascinating churches, buildings of other types, monuments, fountains and additional noted historical sites of great significance and interest in the city of Lisbon. One of the most beautiful, intriguing and meaningful is the Igreja do Carmo. Many visitors who come to this noted site are attracted to it initially for its rich history and design. The structure itself is stunning, and when walking through the ruins, visitors’ imaginations take over to visually rebuild the open areas that were once the original architect’s stalwart stone vision in pure Gothic lines, forms and towering arches.


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