Evora, a small town situated on the eastern side of Lisboa, is a well-worthy side trip from Lisboa. In fact, it is a must stopover for us on our journey back to Spain. The main draw of Evora town is the Chapel of Bone which resides in the Church of San Francisco.
Getting to Evora
It only takes 1.5 hours to drive from Lisboa to Evora. This allowed us ample time to enjoy our drive across Portugal’s iconic bridge, Ponte 25 de Abril.
It was said that the Ponte 25 de Abril is longer than the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. True or not, one thing for sure, they definitely looks identical. But this bridge is more than just good look. The main uniqueness of this bridge lies in its functionality. It serves both cars (top) and trains (below)!
Monument to Christ (Christo Rei)
Shortly after crossing the bridge brought us to the Monument to Christ (Christo Rei). This 82m high monument with a 28m tall Christ on the top was built in 1959 to thank God for sparing Portugal during WWII. Take the lift to the top of the monument to enjoy sweeping view of Lisboa.
Most part of Evora is quiet residential. Nonetheless, its small city centre is full of live! There are numerous interesting cafes to fill hungry tummies and if you are not in the mood to walk, there is the horse carriage to bring you around town.
Church of San Francisco (Igreja de Sao Francisco)
The Church of San Francisco is relatively easy to find. However, do take note that the church is closed at 12 noon for a 2 hours siesta. Just as the many other churches in Portugal, the Igreja de Sao Francisco has a relatively simple architecture with no elaborated decor of sort.
In the main hall, this statue of a suffering Christ on His Passion particularly caught our attention as it was identical to the one we saw in St. Joseph’s Church in Macau.
Chapel of Bone (Capela dos Ossos)
The main draw to the Church of San Francisco was its Chapel of Bone with its interior completely covered with the bones of 5,000 people! Sounds gross and eerie?
At the entrance (above picture) to the chapel is this inscription which translates to “We bones that are here, we are waiting for yours“. Does this inscriptions sounds like a curse? Can you spot the human bones in the above picture?
This chapel was built in XVI and the bones used to decorated it were taken from the graves of the town. The Chapel of Bone was built to serve as a prayer and meditation on the then dire human condition of the Franciscans. It also send a powerful and direct message against human cruelty.
At the far end of the chapel lie the grave of Bishop Jacinto Carlos da Silveira who was killed in 1808 by the French soldiers of Napoleon.
And at another end of the chapel hung the corpses of a father and son. It was believed that they have been cursed by the dying wife/mother for ill-treating her to death (myth or fact?).
For more photos on the Chapel of Bone, check out my instagram.