As if symbolising the bruised and broken body of Christ himself the interior of São Domingos church bears witness to outrageous fortune. On the 13th August 1959, a devastating fire broke out which consumed the wooden roof before guttering the interior. The flames were so fierce it took over six hours for firefighters to extinguish, taking the lives of two. Yet despite the heroic efforts by firemen, priceless statues and pieces of art were lost forever. The roof was hastily rebuilt however a decision was made to preserve the other elements in a damaged state. As late as 1994 the church was finally reopened to the public.
The inferno caused marble and stone to buckle and crack leaving the massive stone pillars fractured and scorched. The floor now broken and uneven, statues missing limbs, the absent gilded altars, blackened orange walls and macabre depictions of the crucifixion all add to the sombre effect. Worthy of deeper inspection however is the red marbled high alter depicting the Holy Trinity and the sacristy, which is the former resting place of the remains of King Afonso III.
: 07h00 - 19h00 |
Largo de São Domingos, 1150-320, Lisbon, Portugal.
38º 42' 53.5" N | 09º 08' 20.2" W
+351 213 428 275 | Website
Outside this amazing church is the meeting place for Lisbon's African community. In 2008 a monument was installed in the square inscribed with the words "Lisbon, the City of Tolerance" in 34 languages in honour of victims of the 1506 massacre. There's plenty of eateries and cafés in the vicinity including the famous A Ginjinha
bar where you can sample Ginja, a local cherry liqueur.