Church of São Domingos

Largo São Domingos, 1150-320 Lisboa, Portugal

Another Lisbon survivor, the baroque Church of São Domingos not only stood its ground during the 1755 earthquake, but also endured a bloody anti-Semitic massacre in 1506 and a devastating fire in 1959. The gorgeous cathedral, which dates back to 1241, is not without its scars, however—its interior is rife with gouged pillars, decrepit walls, and battered sculptures, all of which look even more ethereal when lit by a sea of candles. It feels like a house of worship in constant mourning, and will leave you in a very different mood than most other churches. If you can stomach it, stop outside at the Star of David memorial, which honors the hundreds of Jews that were killed in the 1506 Easter Slaughter.

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Dramatic History at Church of São Domingos

This 13-century church features an architectural style that has added a mixture of different periods and influences, including Mannerism and Baroque. This is due the earthquake of 1755, where alter paintings, vestments, and treasures disappeared. Then a devastating fire in 1959 completely destroyed the church’s interior. It reopened in 1994, without hiding the marks of fire. It has a single but majestic nave, with the chancel in black marble. Some of the most important royal weddings and christenings were celebrated here, but also it was from this church that the people, condemned to the bonfire by the Inquisition, would follow in procession. The church is also known to be the place from which began the historic killing of São Domingos, in 1506—where many Jews and New Christians were mercilessly butchered by the mob.

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