One way to reach the Igreja do Carmo is via the Santa Justa Elevator which connects downtown Baixa with the hilltop neighbourhood of Bairro Alto. This elegant structure was designed by an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, the architect of Paris’ Eiffel Tower.
However the line-up for the very short ride was way too long so we opted to walk up the hill to the church instead. I did however get some great photos of the lift. On reflection, I do wish that I had been patient enough to stand in line or perhaps return at another time when not so busy. I also realised later that we could have at least accessed the platform from the top for a small fee.
Prior research (I use Pinterest for inspiration) indicated that visiting the Carmo church was a great photographic opportunity (especially on a fine day). The church was completed in 1423 and then almost destroyed by the 1755 earthquake killing many All Saints Day worshipers who were in the church at the time. The church today with only its walls and arches remaining stands as a reminder of the quake.
Standing anywhere in the courtyard, there was many a chance to look up into the sky through the damaged arches. Interesting to note a little bit of “modern day” with the jet vapour trails crossing the sky.
A large silver sphere situated in the courtyard was an opportunity to try some reflection photos.
Many of the salvaged artifacts were well grouped around the walls of the church.
The apse of the church houses a small archaeological museum containing art objects from monasteries as well as statues, ceramics and of course some blue tiles. Viewing the roof of this building indicates that it too was damaged. We can only imagine what beautiful frescoes may have adorned the ceiling.
I can never resist taking photos of religious idols or statues. Whether they were carved in stone or wood and hand painted, their chipped and faded appearance draws me to them every time. They are my happy snapping moments!
While the “open-air” church did not disappoint, especially on a beautiful sunny day, the museum was a bonus and definitely worth visiting.
The photo below was one of my favourites. Imagine the stained glass that would have perhaps filled this entire window.
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