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Lisbon Churches

Churches in Lisbon, Portugal

Cathedrals, Churches & Chapels in Lisbon

Portugal is a land full of churches. Even the smallest village in the most remote area of the country will have a church. Churches are often still a focus of community life in Portugal as well as repositories of local and national history, fine architecture and the well-spring of many local festivals.

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has a number of outstanding churches.

See a listing of churches in Lisbon, Portugal.

Mosteiro de Sao Vicente de Fora, Lisbon.
Igreja de São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon
Lisbon Cathedral showing the Rose Window, Lisbon.
Lisbon Cathedral showing the Rose Window

Lisbon Cathedral

Lisbon Cathedral () is located in the Alfama district of the Portuguese capital. The fortress-like Romanesque church was built in 1150, possibly (though not definitively) on the remains of a Moorish mosque, on the orders of King Dom Alfonso Henriques. The first bishop was the English crusading knight Gilbert of Hastings. The imposing, defensive design of the church is typical of the history of this period. The most striking features of Lisbon's Sé are the rose window and twin crenellated towers.

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Belem, Lisbon, Portugal, Portugal.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Belem, Lisbon, Portugal

Mosterio dos Jerónimos

Lisbon's most popular tourist site, the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage listed Mosterio dos Jerónimos is located near the historic Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries in Belem, in the west of the capital. This superb monastery was built to honour the voyages of discovery by Vasco da Gama and the other Portuguese explorers and was financed by the wealth of the Indies, that was flooding in to Portugal at the time, as a result of these new trade routes to Africa, Asia and the New World. The interior chancel later became a royal pantheon for King Manuel I and his successors. Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama (1468-1523), writer Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) and the poet Luis de Camões (1527-70) are also entombed here.

Basilica da Estrela

The Basilica da Estrela, in the Estrela district of western Lisbon, 2km from Bairro Alto, is a fine late 18th century church. A vast monument to Neoclassicism, the church is known for its huge dome and fine multi-colored marble interior in hues of pink, yellow and gray. The church contains the tomb of Dona Maria I, who commissioned the church in thanks for the safe delivery of a male heir - José, Prince of Brazil (1761-1788), who was unfortunately to die of smallpox, aged 27, before the completion of the grand basilica constructed in his honor. There are fantastic views of the surrounding area from the top of the dome. The church is opposite the Jardim da Estrela, through which can be reached the English Cemetery (Cemitério dos Ingleses), with the grave of English novelist, Henry Fielding and the St George Anglican Church.

Convento do Carmo

The Convento do Carmo is an historic ruin in the Chiado district, which is the city's most striking example of the devastation caused by the 1755 earthquake which struck the city. The Convento do Carmo originally dates from the late 14th century and was founded in 1389 by the Constable D. Nuno Álvares Pereira. The evocative ruins, which can be clearly seen from Rossio Station and other parts of the capital, are used as a museum - Museu Arqueológico do Carmo (Carmo Archaeological Museum) - and as a venue for various events including classical and contemporary concerts, video art and plays.

São Vicente de Fora

The São Vicente de Fora also referred to as Mosteiro de São Vicente de Fora ("Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls") is located in the Alfama district of Lisbon close to the Feira da Ladra (Thieves' Market) and the National Pantheon (aka Igreja de Santa Engrácia). The original church was founded in the 12th century by King Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order and takes its name from its original location outside (fora) the city walls. The first Igreja de São Vicente de Fora was dedicated to the patron saint of Lisbon, Saint Vincent of Saragossa, whose bones were interred in the church long after his death and kept as relics. Vincent was martyred under the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 304 after supposedly horrendous torture.

National Pantheon / Church of Santa Engracia, Lisbon.
Panteão Nacional / Igreja de Santa Engrácia, Lisbon

Igreja de Santa Engrácia

The Igreja de Santa Engrácia aka the National Pantheon is a 17th century church converted in the 20th century to hold the tombs of various famous Portuguese figures. The original church was founded in the latter half of the 16th century but was later completely reconstructed at the end of the 17th century by architect João Antunes (1642-1712), famous for his Baroque designs. The church was never actually used as a place of worship as it remain unfinished after the architect's death. The building is noted for its large dome (completed only in the 20th century) which is a popular landmark on the Lisbon skyline overlooking the historic centre of Lisbon and the Tagus River.

Igreja de São Domingos, Rossio, Lisbon.
Igreja de São Domingos, Rossio, Lisbon

Igreja de São Domingos

The Igreja de São Domingos in Largo de São Domingos near Rossio just about survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and a vicious fire in 1959, though evidence of the blaze can still be seen within the church. Igreja de São Domingos dates originally from 1241 and was once the biggest church in Lisbon. Portuguese royal weddings were traditionally held here and the church was also the home of the Inquisition in Portugal.

Igreja de São Roque, Chiado, Lisbon.
The mosaic floor of the Chapel of St. John the Baptist with the armillary sphere, the symbol of the "Age of the Discoveries" prominent, Igreja de São Roque, Lisbon

Igreja de São Roque

The Igreja de São Roque hides some superb treasure behind its rather plain 16th century Jesuit exterior in the Chiado district of the capital. The church served as the headquarters of the Jesuit Order in Portugal until they were expelled in 1759. The interior of the church is incredibly ornate with each of the several chapels and altars a masterpiece of baroque art. The highlight is The Capela de São João Baptista. This beautiful space was commissioned in Rome and took four years to reassemble in Lisbon. The 18th century chapel with a mosaic floor is a delight of agate, marble, gold, ivory and lapis lazuli and at the time was the most expensive in the world. Adjoining the church is the Museu de São Roque which contains the most valuable of the church's treasures including 16th century Portuguese paintings, religious artifacts, a collection of works done in silver and ecclesiastical vestments.

Igreja Paroquial do Santíssimo Sacramento

The Igreja Paroquial do Santíssimo Sacramento is located in the Chiado district of central Lisbon. The church was first established in 1147, shortly after D. Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, captured Lisbon from the Moors. At first a small chapel, by 1750, it was a grand Baroque church. However, like much of the surrounding area, it was completely destroyed by the earthquake that devastated Lisbon in 1755. The current church was designed by the architect Reinaldo Manuel dos Santos and opened in 1784 as part of the reconstruction of the Portuguese capital as planned by the Marquis of Pombal.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Vitória

The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Vitória (Church of Our Lady of Victory) is located in the Baixa area of Lisbon. A chapel of the name Nossa Senhora da Vitória was founded in 1556 and like many churches in Lisbon was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. Reconstruction began in 1765 and was completed only in 1824. The church is designed on a longitudinal plan with a single nave and the entrance reached by a small flight of stairs facing south. The beautiful organ dates from 1793. The main wooden image of Our Lady of Victory is attributed to Machado de Castro.

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Encarnação

The Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Encarnação in the Chiado district of Lisbon dates from 1708. Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, like so many other churches in this part of the Portuguese capital, was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. It was subsequently rebuilt under the direction of the architect Manuel Caetano de Sousa, though the rebuilding works continued until 1873.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha, Lisbon.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha, Lisbon

Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha

The Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha (Church of the Misericórdia) is in the Baixa area of Lisbon. After the 1755 earthquake the damaged Church of Conceição dos Freires, was given to the monks of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, who had lost their church in the disaster. The previous occupants, the Brotherhood of the Misericórdia were moved to the Church of São Roque, after the Jesuits were expelled in 1759. The portal of the church is a superb Manueline doorway containing a tympanum with an image of Our Lady of the Mercy as well as a number of historical figures: King Manuel I, his sister Leonor of Viseu, Queen Eleanor, and Pope Alexander VI among them.

Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa

The Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa (Santo António Church), located close to Lisbon Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Lisbon (aka Saint Anthony of Padua) and was supposedly built on the site where the saint was born in 1195. A chapel was first constructed here in the 15th century and replaced by a larger church in the 16th century during the reign of King Manuel I. This structure was destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and another church was completed in the 1760's in a Baroque-Rococo design. June 13 is Saint Anthony's day and a procession leaves from the church on that day in celebration. A statue of the Saint (by Soares Branco) stands in the square in front of the church.

Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate

The small Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate church stands beneath one of the arches of the aqueduct within the Jardim das Amoreiras, close to the Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras Reservoir. The church was built in 1768 and dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate in honor of the patron saint of the French silk artisans who came to the Royal Factory in Lisbon to ply their trade. The Royal Silk Factory (Fábrica de Tecidos de Seda) stood across the Jardim das Amoreiras and is now the Fundação Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva.

St George Anglican Church

The St George Anglican Church in Lisbon is set in the beautiful grounds of what is known as the English Cemetery, which includes the grave of the English novelist Henry Fielding. The Anglican church for Lisbon in the Diocese in Europe, the church attracts a steady number of expat worshippers and Portuguese Anglicans.

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