Every place has something weird and something dark. Recently I learned that some places have morbid beauty to it with an interesting history behind it. Now I know Portugal, I've been there as a child and it's my parents homeland. However, now that I'm older I've come to wish that I was old enough to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of it. But that's in the past and I can't change that. Maybe someday I'll be able to go there with friends and family and truly be able to love the things I missed.
One the most interesting and morbid sight I would like to see is Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Evora, Portugal. Why? Because the walls and the central pillars are covered with human skulls and other parts of the skeletons, held together by cement. And I mean REAL bones. It's been estimated at 5,000 but no one truly knows for sure.
Plus, there are two full corpses hanging high on a wall. Their identities are unknown, but there are plenty of legends: one popular story says they are an adulterous man and his infant son, cursed by his jealous wife.
The reason for that is because the Church of St. Francis itself was built in the Gothic style with Manueline influences between 1460 and 1510. The Capela dos Ossos was created by a few Franciscan monks in the 16th century as a practical solution to a problem - as many as 42 monastic cemeteries were taking up valuable space in Evora, so they moved all the bones to a single consecrated chapel. Seeing an opportunity to contemplate and communicate the inevitability of death, the monks chose to display the bones prominently rather than storing them away.
There's a strange beauty to it. From the way all those bones makes up the walls and decorate the chapel. It also seems a bit ominous. The entrance of Chapel of Bones is through a large arch bearing a painted rhyme reminding visitors of their own mortality: "Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos"
When translated it means, "Our bones that are here wait for yours!"
I have picture but I'm having a hard time posting them. If anyone is ever curious you can just look up "Capela dos Ossos, Evora" and you'll see it.
· Tue Jan 19, 2010 @ 08:14pm · 0 Comments