Convento do Carmo y museo arqueológico (Carmo Monastery and Archeological Museum)
The ruinous yet somehow elegant Convento do Carmo serves as a safehaven for the archaeological collection from Portugal.
A museum in ruins?
The elegant ruins of Convento do Carmo are one of the city's icons. Its pointed arches scraping the sky with no roof to hold bear witness to the devastating earthquake of 1755 that destroyed the lower town. Traces of the early church can be seen today in the main facade, some paintings on the walls of the body and the transept, and in most of its sanctuary. Perhaps its ruinous aspect inspired the authorities to choose it as the location of the Museum of Archaeology. The museum boasts a collection ranging from Roman times to the nineteenth century, with an excellent collection of tombstones. And not surprisingly so, as this temple served as a cemetery - as well as military stables- for a while. Indeed, the history of many of its pieces pales in comparison with the fascinating history of the building that houses them. The best way to get there is through the gateway of the St. Justa Elevator. In spring, be sure to stand in the pleasant plaza that opens up in front of it with its flowery pink trees.
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