Portugal's Museums: Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho & Igreja de Santo António, Lagos
Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho & Igreja de Santo António, Lagos
The Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho (named after its patron) is housed in the annex of the Igreja de Santo António (Church of St. Anthony) and opened in 1932.
The museum contains a quirky and eclectic collection of archaeological remains from the Neolithic, Roman and Islamic periods alongside Age of Discoveries era weapons and cannonballs, a large display of coins from Portugal and Portuguese ex-colonies plus local agricultural implements as well as temporary exhibitions of modern art.
Important highlights of the museum's diverse collection include the vestments of King Sebastião (1554-1578), worn during a send-off mass ahead of his disastrous attempted invasion of Morocco, where he was killed at the Battle of of Alcácer Quibir in one of the darkest days in Portuguese history and the Charter of Lagos, presented to the city by Dom Manuel I in 1504.
The tour of the many rooms of the museum ends with the spectacular Igreja de Santo António, a Baroque masterpiece of gilded wood, ceiling paintings and blue and white azulejos tiles.
Half a dozen paintings depict the miracles of Saint Anthony and there is a fine statue of the saint with Jesus in his arms above the gilded altar.
Igreja de Santo António was constructed in 1707 but like so many churches in the Algarve suffered damage in the 1755 earthquake. The church was restored in 1769 when the azulejos and church dome were added.
The lavish decorations of the Igreja de Santo António were subsidized by grateful sea captains who prayed at the church before their dangerous voyages to Portugal's overseas territories and gave financial thanks to the church on their safe return.
The Church of St. Anthony has two bell towers of differing heights - a symbolic landmark of Lagos.
The Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho is a good place to explore the history of the region especially on a hot day to escape the sun.
Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho
Rua General Alberto da Silveira
Lagos 8600-594, Portugal.
Tel: 282 762 301
Hours: The Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho is open Tuesday-Sunday 9.30am -12.30pm and 2pm - 5pm; Closed: Mondays, and national holidays.
Admission: 3 Euros (on certain days entrance is free; April 18 (International Day for Monuments and Sites); May 18 (International Museum Day); August 23 (the anniversary of the museum's foundation); September 27 (World Tourism Day); October 27 (Lagos City Day).
The museum is close to the Slave Market Museum (Mercado de Escravos), the Igreja de Santa Maria and a 15-20 minute walk from the Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos (Portuguese Discoveries Wax Museum) at the Marina on the other side of the river.