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3/23/11

Carmo Convent Ruins

The Convento do Carmo and its church Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo do Rio de Janeiro were founded in 1389 as a convent for the Carmelite Order by Portuguese knight Nuno Álvares Pereira. The convent was first inhabited in 1392 by Carmelite nuns from Moura (southeast Portugal). Unfortunately the 1755 earthquake, followed by fire, destroyed most of the convent, its church and library containing 5000 books.
Although the convent was rebuilt (in contrast to the church, the ruins of which still stand as a reminder of the earthquake) in the early 20th century in the Neo-Gothic style, it is now used as military police quarters for the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR). The remains of the church are visible from Praça do Rossio and has distinctive rose window and five flying buttresses. A small museum within the old church is worth a visit, housing prehistoric artefacts as well as the ornate tomb of King Ferdinand I and even a mummified Peruvian Indian.

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Photos: Celso Gonçalves Roc2c

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