The Igreja Real de São Francisco (Royal Church of St. Francis) in Évora is best known for its chapel that is not for the faint of heart. In the ghoulish Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), entered next to the Church of St. Francis, the chancel walls and central pillars are artfully lined with human skulls and other parts of skeletons, held together by cement.
The Capela dos Ossos was built by a few 16th-century monks who wished to contemplate and communicate the message of the transitory nature of life. Over the door is a painted message that reminds visitors of their own mortality: Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos: "Our bones that are here await yours!"
The number of skeletons decorating the chapel has been estimated at 5,000, and legend has it that the bones came from soldiers who died in a major battle or from plague victims. It is likely, however, that they were collected from the cemeteries of local churches.
In addition to the bones embedded in the walls are two full corpses hanging from the wall near the ceiling. Their identities are unknown, but colorful legends abound: one popular story has it that they are an adulterous man and his infant son, cursed by the jealous wife. The bones of the monks responsible for the interior decorating are in a small white coffin inside the chapel.
Photographer : Dellana Groen
Location : Evora, Portugal
Date Taken : 25 March 2008
Size : 8x12 Inches
This is a professional photographic print.
Artist will sign and date back of print only on request.
8x12 Prints or larger are shipped in a tube unless otherwise requested.