I’ve been meaning to visit the ruins of the Convento do Carmo for years and this year took a detour on my way home to explore it from the outside. It’s situated in the Largo do Carmo, off course 🙂
It now houses the Lisbon archaeological museum.
The ruins are bold and imposing, dominating the upwards vista on one side of Rossio Plaza looking up the hill towards Bairro Alto.
Built in the Gothic style from 1389 to 1423, the Convento do Carmo (Carmo Convent) was mostly destroyed on 1 November 1755, the date of the catastrophic earthquake that razed Lisbon to the ground.
Despite the destruction, the ruins are breath-taking. I didn’t go in, choosing instead to explore the exterior. I am leaving that for the next visit.
The Castelo De S.Jorge is visible through the flying buttress. The convent has five flying buttresses.
It was one of the largest and most ambitious architectural projects Lisbon had undertaken up until that time, both in terms of complexity of design and the numbers of people needed to construct it.
There were more than a few technical difficulties, starting with the foundations but also with the flying buttresses which collapsed twice.
It was commissioned by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira and handed over to Gomes Martins (no relation) to complete.
After the initial technical difficulties, it was handed over to three brothers to complete – Eanes, Afonso, Rodrigo and Gonçalo – who were master builders and stone masons.
One of the best preserved parts of the convent is the facade.
After years of looking up at the ruins, what I eventually found was certainly a surprise, especially the views of the Castelo de S.Jorge and downtown central Lisbon.
When you visit Lisbon it has got to be on your itinerary. I insist 🙂