The Carmo Convent Lisbon is an essential stop on a Lisbon visit, as it is one of the main remaining ruins standing after the 1755 Earthquake. This medieval convent is now the home of the Carmo archeological museum with a wide variety of pieces to discover. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit.
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Why visit the Carmo Convent? Video
If you are looking for older buildings in Lisbon, this is one of your best options. the convent is one of the main remaining ruins standing after the 1755 Earthquake. Most of the town had been destroyed.
Below is a short video to give you an idea of what your visit could look like:
This is one of the top things to do in Lisbon on a city break.
More details and photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS - Carmo Convent, Lisbon
How to get to the Carmo Convent in Lisbon
- In the Chiado area of Lisbon
- At the top of the Santa Justa Lift
- Entrance is located on Praça Largo do Carmo
The convent is included in my guides to help you easily plan your Portugal itinerary:
Visiting the Carmo Archeological Museum
The convent from the outside
One of the best views of what remains of the Carmo Convent Lisbon is from the Santa Justa Lift viewing platform.
If you take the elevator from downtown and climb to the top you can see on one side amazing views of Lisbon and looking towards the back you discover the ruins of the Carmo church, the only still standing walls and arches of the convent.
The entrance to the ruins and the museum is from the small and charming Largo do Carmo place with a nice fountain in the middle.
Waiting to enter at 10am...
Carmo Convent History & Facts
Before I give you a few facts, let's note that the Carmo Convent church in Lisbon should not be mixed with the Igreja do Carmo church in Porto. It is another famous church but quite different.
In the museum is a replica of what the church, Igreja do Carmo Lisbon, used to look like before the earthquake:
- The Carmo convent was built during the end of the 14th century and the 15th century
- It was founded in 1389 for the Carmelite Order
- It has a plain gothic style with a Latin Cross plan
- It was the home of a large library with roughly 5000 books
- Most was destroyed during the big 1755 Earthquake
- It was for a while a military Stronghold
- Given to the Association of archeologists in mid 19th century and turned into a museum
More info on the Wikipedia Page
Inside the Carmo Church
Upon entering, you first discover the nave of the church. The roof has been left open in memory of the earthquake. Some of the arches were repaired.
It is quite an emotional place for the symbol it has become.
Seeing those arches without the roof is quite impressive.
The construction of the building is neutral, but you can see a few carved decors:
This is the view from the museum entrance looking back towards the convent entrance:
After the open-air part, you can enter the section which still has a roof.
This apse has a main chapel and four side chapels. There is a nice play of light inside with the tall walls and various windows.
Carmo Archaeological museum
The Church of the Carmo Convent Lisbon is now the home of the Carmo Archeological museum (Museu Arqueológico do Carmo).
Outside are fountains and structural pieces and stone art.
Inside you can find tombs with intricate carving work. The most famous is the one of King Ferdinand I.
Some books are still on display to remind of the huge collection which was lost during the big earthquake.
They have a very wide variety of pieces, with, for example, an Egyptian mummy...
You can also discover older archeological pieces and tools from the Bronze age and later.
It is a small museum with a big variety of pieces... no time to get bored!
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