Capela Dos Ossos – Chapel of Bones Evora Portugal

Remember we were going to have an early cuppa on our deck?  Waking up to pouring rain put that on hold.

We wandered down to the restaurant for an early breakfast.  I asked if there was anything gluten free.  I couldn’t believe my eyes what they brought to my table.  Yummy gluten free croissant, Pasteis de Nata and a muffin.  All beautiful and fresh, the croissant was buttery.  Yes I ate them all.  If you check on gluten free bakeries in Evora there are quite a few so they would have come from one of them.


My gluten free feast for breakfast



After breakfast Muriel and I wandered around the cobblestone streets and checked out more of the Aqua de Prata.  Cute little homes are built under the arches.  Our hotel the  Mar De Ar Aqueduto was where the arches of the Aqua de Prata were quite huge but as we wandered further it became smaller and smaller.


Aqua de Prata – see how small it gets

Our day would be spent at the Herdade do Esporao Winery where we would be wined and dined.  That requires a whole post dedicated to it so will fast forward to when we arrived back in Evora in the afternoon.

A few of  us were dropped of just on the outskirts of Evora, still pouring with rain we made our way to the Cappella Dos Ossos – Chapel of Bones.  To be honest I had never heard of this place but in a macabre way I was interested in what would be found there.  I have since learnt that it is the most visited place in Evora.

You may ask why was this place even built?  Back in the 15th and 16th century the Evora’s cemeteries were overflowing and the remains had to be exhumed to create more space. Three monks had the brilliant idea to create a chapel with the bones and skulls decorating the columns, walls, arches and domes. The bone fragments were used as part of the mortar.  Over 5,000 bones stacked neatly on top of each other using every single bit of space.

Across the entrance  are the words – Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos” (“we, the bones that are here, await yours”).


We the bones that are here await yours –




One of the walls filled with skulls and bones



There are two corpse in glass cases of which one is a child, I just couldn’t take the photo of the child, it felt so wrong.



The columns and walls filled with bones and sculls

There were also two corpses hanging from chains from the ceiling, again one a child or baby, I didn’t take a photo of them.


Our group were sombre as we paused to take photos not one of us wanting a photo of us in it.  However there were a group of people who were running around taking happy snaps for those Instagram shots.  Like the ones you see in the concentration camps.  This was a place of reflection.

Muriel and I probably spent around 10-15 minutes inside the Chapel of Bones.  We then made our way back to our hotel.


A poem that was written by Father Antonio da Ascencao, that hangs from one of the pillars that explains the purpose of the chapel.

Aonde vais, caminhante, acelerado?
Pára…não prossigas mais avante;
Negócio, não tens mais importante,
Do que este, à tua vista apresentado.

Recorda quantos desta vida têm passado,
Reflecte em que terás fim semelhante,
Que para meditar causa é bastante
Terem todos mais nisto parado.

Pondera, que influido d’essa sorte,
Entre negociações do mundo tantas,
Tão pouco consideras na morte;

Porém, se os olhos aqui levantas,
Pára…porque em negócio deste porte,
Quanto mais tu parares, mais adiantas.

por Padre António da Ascenção


Where are you going in such a hurry traveler?
Stop … do not proceed;
You have no greater concern,
Than this one: that on which you focus your sight.

Recall how many have passed from this world,
Reflect on your similar end,
There is good reason to reflect
If only all did the same.

Ponder, you so influenced by fate,
Among the many concerns of the world,
So little do you reflect on death;

If by chance you glance at this place,
Stop … for the sake of your journey,
The more you pause, the more you will progress.

by Fr. António da Ascenção (translation by Fr. Carlos A. Martins, CC)



As we walked back in the rain we discovered even the cow statue was ready for the rain.


Even the cow was sheltering under an umbrella



Isn’t this just gorgeous


Once back at the hotel we went upstairs to the bar where we found some of our fellow travelers.  We joined them for a drink or two then it was time for bed.  It had been a long day.




The next post will be on our visit to the Herdade do Esporao Winery in the Alentejo region of Portugal.





36 thoughts on “Capela Dos Ossos – Chapel of Bones Evora Portugal

  1. Pingback: #SeniSal Roundup: Feb 3-7 ~ Esme Salon

  2. Bree, there are so many great things to love in this blog!!!! I love that it was so easy to get gluten-free items in Portugal. When I am there, I will be celebrating 7 years of being gluten-free. I usually don’t eat bread and stuff but it is good to know that if I want it, I can get it.
    And who wouldn’t love the cow with the umbrella? If that isn’t the cutest thing ever, I don’t know what is!?!?!
    Sorry, it rained on you but it looks like you guys still had a great adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Portugal and Spain are excellent for gluten free. We had dinner at an awesome place in Lisbon one night its right near the Sheraton Hotel we stayed at. Its called the Paleo Kitchen – Paleo is gluten free which is awesome. The cow is gorgeous x Oh boy it rained and hailed apparently thats normal for April.


  3. Pingback: Herdade do Esporao – Winery – 3 Sisters Abroad

  4. They are a little macabre, those places which consolidate so many skulls and bones. The poem is very apt though – good time to consider what lies ahead and whether we should slow down/change things. Looks a very interesting place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always enjoy your travel posts about Portugal, Bree and would love to visit. We only spent a two days in Lisbon and I know there is much more to explore. We once visited a small Greek Island that had a old monestary and it had a cabinet full of skulls – not a wall like in your photos! Thanks for being part of #MLSTL and see you next week. x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rain and bones – an interesting day indeed. I think those memorials filled with skulls and bones and bodies are so confronting – so many dead people in once place – but I guess that’s what a cemetary is (it’s just that we don’t get to see what lies under all those thousands of headstones).
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thats so right…we visit cemetary’s walking around looking at the headstone’s…this was confronting in the face. Thank you so much for having such a wonderful place where we can share read and get to know so many amazing people.


  7. All of that is gluten free? It looks so good! That chapel looks amazing, but I agree with you – places like these feel as though they should be about reflection rather than selfies. The words above the entrance are a tad ominous though! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow….so interesting. Although it gave me the shivers reading it. I actually love the poem! It feels like a prayer somehow. Very thought provoking.
    As for the gluten free breakfast …..I’m jealous. I’ve just been on holiday in Germany, and I assumed that no way would I get a gluten free croissant…anywhere. So I didn’t even ask.
    I made my own little loaf and took it with me in my suitcase. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes the gluten free was amazing my whole trip. So many GF products were on offer everywhere. I have learnt don’t ask you don’t get. although in Madrid…i was nearly very close given a very tasty chocolate desert that had peanuts in it…lucky for google translate!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can understand your reluctance of taking photos that don’t sit well with us. As mature visitors we are not all about Instagram! I respect your decision to not photograph certain things. We recently visited The Bone Church in Kunta Hora in The Czech Republic. It’s similar to this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an amazing place. Not what I expected. There is another church (cathedral?) in Portugal that is “decorated” in human bones – can’t remember the name of it but have always wanted to see it. Now this one too. I find it fascinating, and like you, a place for reflection. I love both the inscription above the entrance and the poem. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As I was reading your words, they didn’t quite prepare me for the images! What a strange place. Is the chapel a replacement cemetary where one would go to pay their respects to a loved one, or is it a place of worship? Either way, it’s quite macabre and interesting! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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