#253 - Alfama V

Portugal's National Pantheon

Santa Engracia Church, or the National Pantheon, stands on the site of an earlier church that was torn down after being desecrated by a robbery in 1630. A Jew was blamed for this and executed, but was later exonerated. Legend has it that before dying he cursed the rebuilding of the church because of the conviction of an innocent man. The plan to reconstruct (by master stonemason João Antunes, bearing many similarities to Peruzzi's plans for St. Peter's in Rome) did take several centuries to be completed, only finished in 1966.

Today it has been designated the National Pantheon and contains the tombs of several Portuguese presidents, writer Almeida Garrett (one of the country's leading 19th century literary figures), and in recognition of her iconic status, Amalia Rodrigues, the most famous Fado diva.

The building is on the plan of a Greek cross, and the interior is covered in beautiful, multicolored slabs of polished marble. It is crowned with a dome that provides a 360-degree view of the river and the city.

The National Pantheon seen from the "Feira da Ladra"

(Downloaded from internet)

The "Feira da Ladra," Lisbon's flea market is held nearby on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Where: Campo de Santa Clara, Alfama
How: Tram 28
When: 10AM-5PM (Closed Mondays)

Sights Nearby
Saint George's Castle - Overlooking the city from millennium-old walls.

The Cathedral - The city's oldest building.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol - Standing over Alfama's rooftops, domes, and church towers

Miradouro de Santa Luzia - Views of the river and Alfama.

São Vicente de Fora Church - A 16th century monastery with an exceptional tiled interior.

Santo Antonio Church - Saint Anthony's birthplace.

Graça Church and Miradouro - A panoramic view to the castle and the city.

Casa dos Bicos - A 16th century architectural curiosity.

The Roman Theater - The archaological remains of a once large Roman theater.

Decorative Arts Museum - A captivating decorative arts collection.

Fado Museum - The story of the national music.

Military Museum - A testament to the country's battles.

The Tile Museum - An ancient art form in a lavish old convent.

Doca do Jardim do Tabaco - Sleek restaurants and club on the waterfront.


George Townboy said...

Another beautiful church with a great history. Thank you for an awesome post!!

Small City Scenes said...

Interesting, Informative and very good looking. MB