Carmo Convent, Lisbon, Portugal

Carmo Convent, also known the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is one of Lisbon’s most iconic buildings. The medieval convent was irreparably damaged during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and though ruinous it is still incredibly striking. The Carmelite convent was originally founded in 1389 by Constable D.Nuno Álvares Pereira (supreme military commander to the King). Work commenced at the site in 1393 and continued until 1423 when the residential cells were completed. The order grew and by 1551 the convent was home to 70 clergy and 10 servants. The catastrophic 1755 earthquake caused widespread damage in Lisbon and Carmo Convent suffered badly. At this time the library, which housed around 5,000 books, was completely destroyed and 126 clerics were forced to abandon the building. Throughout the next one hundred years minor repairs were made to the convent with some of the buildings being occupied by the Police Royal Guard, at one time the church was being used as a sawmill! In 1864 the building was donated to the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists who turned the building into a museum. Ongoing restoration of the facade, the arches, and the church nave continue to the present day.

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