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The Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel) and Igreja do Carmo, Faro

The Capela dos Ossos in Faro is a macabre but fascinating little chapel located to the rear of the beautiful Igreja do Carmo church. The chapel is lined with the bones of over 1,000 skeletons and these bones decorate the walls and ceilings in ghoulish geometric patterns.

Chapel of Bones faro

A small Chapel of Bones, lined with the skulls and bones of 1,250 monks

The bones were exhumed in the 19th century from Faro’s overcrowded cemetery and belong to the monks who once served the city. These long dead monks stare down from every surface of the chapel at visitors – the Capela dos Ossos is truly one of the strangest and creepiest attractions of Faro.

Igreja da Carmo faro

The Baroque exterior of the 18th century Igreja da Carmo

The Igreja do Carmo is as equally interesting, with an imposing baroque façade and a cooling interior of intricately carved altars. The Capela dos Ossos and Igreja do Carmo combine to form one of the best tourist attractions of Faro, worthy of the short walk from the harbour.

Tourist information about the Chapel of Bones Faro

The Capela dos Ossos is situated in the rear courtyard of the Igreja do Carmo and is entered via the main church. As the access to chapel is via the church it means that the opening hours are limited by mass and service times. The chapel is open Monday to Friday 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:30, on Saturday it is only open 10:00-13:00 and the chapel is closed all day Sunday.

The entrance fee is only €2.00 and a typical visit lasts around 20 minutes. The Igreja do Carmo is to the north of central Faro, and is a 7-minute walk from the harbour and Jardim Manuel Bivar. The exact GPS coordinates of the Igreja do Carmo are 37.01997, -7.93471.

An Image tour of the Igreja do Carmo and the Capela dos Ossos

Igreja da Carmo

The Igreja do Carmo is a twin bell tower church, which follows the 18th century Baroque style of architecture

Largo do Carmo faro

The church overlooks the Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square), with its distinctive calçada stone pathing

gilded wood altars Igreja da Carmo

Inside the Igreja do Carmo is a riot of gilded wood altars and intricate wooden carvings

Carmo church faro

The main altar in the church

chapel Igreja da Carmo

Behind the church is a small garden and this is the setting for the bone chapel. There is a secondary external bone chapel but, unfortunately all of the skulls and bones are badly damaged

Cepela dos Ossos faro

The Capela dos Ossos is housed in a relatively small, plain, white washed extension to the main church.

Cepela dos Ossos

The chapel contains the bones of over 1,000 monks and includes 1,200 skulls used as decorations

Cepela dos Ossos

A skull in the wall of the Capela dos Ossos

Interesting facts about the Capela dos Ossos

The macabre atmosphere of the chapel is often lessened by the sound of children playing in the churches crèche and nursery which is located directly behind the chapel. The monks whose bones line the chapel walls were from the Carmel order of monks and historically their place of worship was the Igreja da Carmo (Carmo is the Portuguese for Carmel).

On the entrance to the chapel is the inscription:

“Pára aqui a considerar que a este estado hás-de chegar”

“Stop here and consider, that you will reach this state too”

Cheery......

bone church Faro

The bone church and chapel in Faro

For today’s visitors the chapel may appear as a very creepy attraction but it was common practice for bones to be exhumed from graves prior to the 19th century. This was often a necessity due to limited suitable space for burial and after a period of ten years the bones would be removed and placed in tombs. In Faro the holiest final resting place was a chapel dedicated to the holy men.

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