Chapel of Bones
The Chapel of Bones was built in the 17th century on the initiative of three Franciscan friars whose aim was to convey the message of the transience and fragility of human life. This message is clearly passed on to visitors right at the entrance, through the warning: “We bones that we are here, for yours we wait”. Deep down, it shows the macabre taste of the Baroque man for necrophilia.
This chapel of skulls and bones was built in the place where the friars’ dormitory and reflection room were originally. It is formed by three naves, about 18,70m long and 11m wide. Natural light strategically enters these ships only through three small cracks on the left. It is a very dark place! Be brave…
The walls of the Chapel of Bones and the eight pillars that comprise it are lined with human bones and skulls, carefully arranged, connected by brown cement. The vaults are of brick plastered in white and painted with motifs that symbolize or allude to death. In addition to the bones, the Capela dos Ossos is also decorated with statues of a religious nature and a Renaissance and Baroque style painting.
The arcades are decorated with rows of skulls, cornices and white naves. It is estimated that there are about 5000 human skulls that are found there, among countless bones, from the graves of the convent church and other churches and cemeteries in the city.
In the 16th century, there were nearly forty-two monastic cemeteries in the city, which took up too much space. As a solution, those monks extracted the bones from the floor and used them to build and “decorate” this chapel.
The Chapel of Bones is a monument of penitential architecture. Dedicated to Senhor dos Passos, an image known to the people of Éboros as Senhor Jesus da Casa dos Ossos. This image impressively and vividly represents the suffering of Christ on his journey to Calvary with the cross on his back.