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CHAPEL OF BONES – THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE MACABRE

Chapel of Bones
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The Chapel of Bones is inserted in the San Francisco Church and is one of the best-known places in this Alentejo town.

Franciscan friars who wanted to convey the message of transition between life and death built the chapel in the 17th century.

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So, get ready to face walls and pillars completely covered with human skulls and bones. There’s rows and rows of skulls, about 5,000 in total, from numerous graves scattered in local churches and cemeteries.

How to visit the Chapel of Bones

To visit the Chapel of Bones you’ll have to pay a 3€ ticket, but you’ll also have access to the museum.

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Be sure to visit the Church of San Francisco, which entrance is free. When I was there, the temple was partially closed for conservation and restoration works, but now its entirety open to the public.

And since you’re in Évora, set out to explore the city, its historic center and its gastronomy.

Click here to find your perfect stay in the city.

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What do you think of this type of monuments? Frighten or curious? Share your opinion in the comments box below.

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Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.

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15 COMMENTS

  • Kavey

    I have visited another underground bone “collection” (I’m trying to remember where, my senility is kicking in!) but nothing as grand as this! What an amazing and unusual sight. On my list now!

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi Kavey. I think that at this time this kind of sites must have been some kind of a religion tradition. If you can, try to visit it if you ever in Portugal. You won’t be sorry. 😉

  • Vicki Louise

    It’s such a fascinating and slightly kooky place- I’d love to visit, but maybe only during daylight hours.. it might turn from kooky to creepy after dark!

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi Vicki. I totally agree with you. I’ve visit it during day time… think it would be a bit more spooky if it was at night. 😉

  • Drew

    I went to Evora a few years back as a side trip from Lisbon. Fantastic city and the Chapel of Bones was a highlight. The area is the largest producer of wine corks in the world, so popping a bottle of wine always reminds me of Evora!

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi Drew. You are so right. There’s a lot to see in Évora and around it. Glad you like it!

  • Marteen

    This place has just blown my mind. I’m not sure how I’d feel visiting it but it is something that I have to put on my list. How did you feel visiting it Marlene?

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi Marteen. Despite its more macabre aspect, the visit is nothing scary. I think the curiosity and amazement for all that work goes beyond any kind of fear I could feel. 🙂

  • Christina

    I’d like to know where the 5000 bones and skulls came from, Marlene. Did the Franciscan friars build this as a kind of portal to heaven and hell?

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi Christina. Tales say that the bones were brought from churches crypts and cemeteries all around Évora. As for the portal, I think that the friars wonted to remind all those who visit the site about the thin line between life and death.

  • Loredana

    I heard a lot about this church – and I came very close to it when I visited Brno (but didn’t manage to take a one day trip to see this church). It is a famous church – and one that I hope to visit one day. Great photos too!

    • Loredana

      PS: I wanted to say that I came close to a similar one, in Europe, Czech Republic, not near this one.

      Above it was “and I came very close to ONE LIKE it when…” 🙂

  • Holly

    There is a place like this in Czech Republic too. I didn’t visit, but it sounded very interesting and a bit weird at the same time.

  • Aileen Adalid

    Oh wow… this is an absolutely interesting place! I’m not really one for skulls and bones, but I think this spot is still something that I would love to see! Thanks for sharing 😀 You also took some really good photos!

    • Marlene Marques
      AUTHOR

      Hi, Aileen! Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you liked this suggestion.

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