Halfway between the lively Barrio Alto which is famous for its nightlife and the historical Chiado, which is one of the most traditional districts of Lisbon, there is one of the main architectonic beauties of the Portuguese capital city: the Igreja de São Roque or Church of Saint Roch.
The austere facade doesn’t tell much about its sumptuous interiors richly decorated with marbles, golden wood carvings, precious paintings, and the traditional Portuguese azulejos tiles. Open the door of this centennial church and be surprised by its exceptional artistic heritage. Be careful, though: it is so beautiful that you could suffer from Stendhal syndrome!
The surprising interior of the Church of Saint Roch is spectacular thanks to its light effects. Don’t be overwhelmed by so much beauty all together! During your visit pay attention to the several works of great artistic value that there are in the church:
Once you have finished your visit to the church it is time to visit the Museu de São Roque: a small museum that exhibits a collection of sacred relics (liturgical and reliquary objects) and paintings.
The funniest way to reach the Church of Saint Roch is by taking tram 28, the historical tram of Lisbon loved by all tourists. You can also reach it on a short walk from the popular Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara.
The Church of Saint Roch was built by the Jesuits in 1533 and it represents the oldest Jesuit church in Lisbon.
The church inscription is connected to an historical fact. In the 16th century a cemetery where to bury all the victims of the plague was built in an area located outside the city walls. In 1506 a temple dedicated to Saint Roque was built; he was the protector of the sicks. After thirty years the temple was entrusted to the Society of Jesus which built a bigger temple, keeping the original Chapel of São Roque. The project was designed by Filippo Terzi, an Italian architect and engineer who worked at the service of the Spanish and Portuguese royal families.
In the 18th century a royal decree ordered the expulsion of all Jesuits from Portugal, and their goods became property of the Charity House of Lisbon. At the moment they belong to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia.
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