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“Gothic church with vaults gone” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Igreja do Carmo

Igreja do Carmo
Largo do Carmo, 1200, Lisbon, Portugal (Baixa)
00351213460473
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Private Tour
$25*
and up
Private Tour: Lisbon Walking Tour
Ranked #33 of 308 things to do in Lisbon
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Los Gatos, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gothic church with vaults gone”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

This late Gothic church lost its vaults in the earthquake of 1755 but the ribs and walls are still standing giving it an eerie but wonderful appearance. Many interesting old monuments along the walls and in the Archaeological Museum in the choir where the vaults are still standing. Take the Santa Justa or Carmo Elevador to get there for an exciting early 20th-century experience, especially walking along the connecting bridge (not for those afraid of heights but perfectly sturdy and great views). The Carmo Square looked very interesting and full of local color, but we didn't have time to stay, alas.

Visited October 2012
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TX
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56 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Stunned into Silence”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

What was lost from Carmo Convent speaks as powerfully as what remains. In a city of towering Romanesque, Moorish and Manueline architecture, Igreja do Carmo is a breathtaking departure from the mass of architectural scale and detail seen at every turn in Lisbon. This church with the sky for a ceiling will stun you into awed silence

Taking the Santa Justa elevator (also known as the Carmo Lift) up to the church is an experience in itself, as you rise above the bustling city below onto a suddenly more peaceful hill. You step off of the elevator and under one of the convent’s massive flying buttresses that survived the terrible 1755 earthquake. Carmo sits on a typical Lisbon squares, but in a more serene, less commercial space than you just left below – perhaps the church works its hushed magic on all who approach.

Walking into the main sanctuary, which took the brunt of the quake, is almost a shock – though you know the story of roofless Carmo, you’re still unprepared for the moment of walking into an immense Gothic church that is completely open to the sky. The delicate pointed arches that once supported the roof soar overhead like the bleached bones of some massive prehistoric bird. Against the dazzling blue Lisbon sky those arches looked even more fragile, but one is mindful that they’ve survived wars, kings, disasters and tourists. In the off-season the crowd was small and mostly adult, and they spoke in hushed, respectful tones as though touring one of Lisbon’s many active churches.

The church has been a museum since the 1850s, so along with some of the original quake rubble you’ll stroll among cultural, architectural and religious artifacts set high on the walls or on the ground. Most all of the labels are in Portuguese, so bring your phrasebook if you want to understand what you’re seeing. The smaller vaulted chapels that survived the quake house a wide array of archaeological relics, including the ornate tomb of King Ferdinand I, thousand-year-old coins and even two small South American mummies.

While the museum collection is eclectic and fascinating, I kept returning to stand wordlessly under the open arches and look up at the niches, saints and crosses that seemed to float against the clear Lisbon sky.

Visited October 2012
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Aarhus
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“An Earth-quake surviver...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

A ruin (and museum) with a fantastic view over central Lisbon; collumns still standing after the big earthquake in 1755. And placed by a praca that itself are both beatiful and filled with both older and newer historical interest...

Visited August 2012
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Charlottesville, Virginia
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86 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“A lovely stop on your way through the Chiado”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

This is not a "destination site," but a great place to stop as you amble through the neighborhood. The church is in (picturesque) ruins, and the small archeological museum in the back has some real treasures, including two Peruvian mummies, of all things.

Visited December 2012
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Fortaleza, CE
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30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great place to be once in life!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

This church is in ruins. But the beauty of its remains is worth every minute you stay there and you should take excellent pictures on this site. More, there is a city view from near here that you cant miss at all and the Cidade Baixa travel at the charming art noveau elevator.

Visited April 2012
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