5 unique churches in Porto
1) Igreja do Carmo e Carmelitas
This looks like one large church, but look closer and you will see it’s actually two. The Carmo Church on the right, and the Carmelita on the left stand side by side. Almost. Between them is a one-metre-wide house, built to avoid a shared wall between the monks and nuns in their respective churches. It’s one of Porto’s quirkier sights.
2) Capela das Almas
Nestled in Porto’s main shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina, this 18th-century monument known as the Chapel of Souls is covered with over 15.000 azulejo tiles, depicting dramatic scenes from the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. Inside, look out for the side altar dedicated to Nossa Senhora das Almas (Our Lady of the Souls).
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3) Igreja de São Francisco
The 14th-century Saint Francis Church is a church of contrasts. Wood carvings gilded with over 300 kilos of gold leaf add an opulent feel to the baroque interior – once considered too extravagant for its humble location. Underneath, the catacombs provide a final resting place to Franciscan monks and Porto’s elite. Piles of human bones can be viewed in the glass-floored ossuary.
4) Igreja da Misericórdia
This late 16th-century Renaissance-style church can be found on the popular Rua das Flores. The baroque and rococo touches are the work of Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, alongside the traditional azulejo tiling. A dramatic Flemish painting featuring a fountain of the blood of Christ, can be found at the adjacent museum MMIPO.
5) Igreja Paroquial de Nossa Senhora da Boavista
Exposed concrete and timber framework contribute to the brutalist-tinged look of this church designed by Agostinho Ricca. It is considered a true example of modern religious architecture in the city. It also features a stained-glass window by Júlio Resende, which is echoed in the carpeting inside. Locals have nicknamed it Igreja do Foco, after its neighbourhood.
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