überlin does Portugal: Chapel of Bones, Évora

by James Glazebrook

We’re such goths. Who else would spend a day of their holiday in Lisbon on a three hour round trip to see a chapel covered in skulls? The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Évora, central Portugal, was built by Franciscan monks in the 17th century as a memento mori, an enduring reminder of their and subsequent visitors’ mortality. They lined the small room in the Church of São Francisco with 5,000 people’s skulls and bones, hanging the desiccated corpses of an unnamed adult and child for extra brutality. The builder’s bodies are buried here, slain by Napoleon’s invading army, and the entrance to this wonderfully macabre tourist attraction is marked with the extra-epic phrase, Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos – “we, the bones that are here, await yours.” Props to the visitor who turned up in a Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Show Your Bones” t-shirt!

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Portugal Chapel of Bones

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography.

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