Monday, March 19, 2012

The Chapel of Bones

The Capela dos Ossos or Chapel of Bones in English, is located in Évora, Portugal. The small church was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk to help convey to his fellow brothers that life was just a transitional stage. The warning words carved into the doorway read Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos which translates to “We, the bones that are here, await yours". The chapel walls and eight pillars are decorated in carefully arranged bones and skulls held together by cement. The ceiling is made of white painted brick and the artwork even carries a death motif. The chapel of bones contains the skeletons of approximately 5,000 monks from the surrounding area, coming from the cemeteries that were situated alongside several dozen churches. A child’s remains hangs from one of ceilings within the small building along with many other decorative pieces made from bone. Some of these skulls have been desecrated over time with graffiti. On the roof of chapel, the phrase "Melior est die mortis die nativitatis" is written, which translates to  "Better is the day of death than the day of birth" (Ecclesiastes, 7, 1).

The chapel with it's warning message - LINK
by fotogasamans
bjaglin on Flickr
Dangling corpses, one of a child - LINK
One of three windows that allow slight into the chapel - LINK
John Hallam Images on Flickr
Close-up of graffiti covered skulls - LINK

Info from here and here
Photos belong to their respective links listed under each photo

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