Chapel of Bones in Évora | Portugal

Chapel of Bones in Évora - Capela dos Ossos; Portugal

The Chapel of Bones in the city of Evora was built by the Franciscans in the 17th century. This chapel is probably the most famous monument of Evora – a UNESCO World Monument.

Evora

More than 5000 bones cover the walls and columns of this monument in Evora. These bones come from the medieval graves of the town’s burghers. The whole structure holds thanks to the cement that burns the bones arranged in various patterns. On the ceiling of this room is the inscription “Melior est die Mortis die nativitati” – “Better is the day of death than the day of birth”.

Compared to other chapels built from bones (such as the one in Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic), this place didn’t seem so gloomy to us. Maybe it was because of the light coming into the chapel, or maybe it was because of our guide’s explanation. According to him, this place was not intended by Franciscans to fill us with fear, but only to inspire us to think about the transience of life.

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