2016年10月5日 星期三

Evora-St. Francis Church & Chapel of Bones( 伊奴拉古城--聖方濟各教堂及屍骨小堂)

After a tiring journey and a good rest, it was breakfast time again

The usual choice of cold cuts and cheeses

Some of the scones, tarts and cakes I saw the previous day at the Rua Augusta, the busiest pedestrian street in Lisbon

various pastry


cup cakes

cream puffs

syrup buns


buns and breads

various lamps

reflections on a framed wall poster

reflection of the buildings opposite the hotel

another Roman aqueduct on our way to Evora, an ancient city of less than 60,000 dating from Celtic times with a large number of monuments from various historical periods and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The reflection of the hazy morning sun on the Tagus River

This is the closest we ever got to seeing the Cristo Rei (Christ the King), that famous statue in concrete which bestows its blessing on Lisbon: snapped quickly from our coach window.  It's a shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), after the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited that monument. It's built as an expression of the Portuguese gratitude for being spared the atrocities of WWII (Portugal was officially neutral but sent some "volunteers" to help the Fascist General Franco of Spain who was sympathetic to the Nazi Hitler and Benito Mussolini of Fascist Italty). The project was inaugurated on 17 May 1959, at a time when Portugal was being ruled by the authoritarian President of the Council of Ministers, António de Oliveira Salazar.

A contemporary metallic sculpture we passed by on our way to Evora

Évora is an ancIent whose town centre is still  partially enclosed by medieval walls. In 584, it was conquered by the Visigothic King Leovirgild and in 715, by the Moors under Tariq ibn-Ziyad. He called it Yaburah . During the Moorish rule (715–1165) it became part of the Taifa of Badajoz and developed into an agricultural center with a fortress and a mosque and became the home to a  famous poet Abd al-Majid ibn Abdun Al-Yaburi عبد المجيد بن عبدون اليابري,whose diwan still survives to this day. In September1165, it reverted  to Christian control  after a surprise attack mounted by Gerald the Fearless (Geraldo Sem Pavor). The following year, it came under the rule of the Portuguese King Afonso I. It flourished in the Middle Ages especially in the 15th century. The court of the first and second dynasties resided here for long periods, building palaces, monuments and religious buildings. Évora became the scene for many royal weddings and the place where many important decisions were made. But it declined in importance in the 19th-century partly as a result of the War of Two Brothers.
Evora was home to many celebrities under reign of Manuel I and John III, like André de Resende - buried in the cathedral) and artists, like the sculptor Nicolau Chanterene; the painters Cristóvão de Figueiredo and Gregório Lopes; the composers Manuel Cardoso and Duarte Lobo; the chronicler Duarte Galvão; and the father of Portuguese drama, Gil Vicente.
But in 16th century, it was one of the centres of Portuguese slave trade
In 1559, the Jesuit established a university here and such great European masters as the Flemish humanists Nicolaus Clenardus (Nicolaas Cleynaerts) (1493–1542), Johannes Vasaeus (Jan Was) (1511–1561) and the theologian Luis de Molina all taught here.
In the 18th century, the Jesuits, who had spread intellectual and religious enlightenment since the 16th century, were expelled from Portugal, the university was closed in 1759 by the Marquis of Pombal, and Évora went into decline. The university was not reopened until 1973.
In 1834, Évora was the site of the surrender of the forces of King Miguel I, which marked the end of the Liberal Wars

A monument to celebrate the patriotic spirit of the daughters of Ebora (its name as part of the Roman Empire) with inscription in Latin. According to cultural historians, Evora  got its old name Ebora from an ancient Celtic word ebora/ebura (plural genitive of the word euros (yew) given to it by the Celtici, a tribal confederacy comprising the territories south of the Lusitanians (and of Tagus River) and served as its regional capital. Others claimed that it got its name is derived from oro, aurum (gold) or ivory but there's no evidence of any goldmines nearby or that it's connected with the ivory trade in Celtic times. Whatever the truth may be, the Romans conquered it 57 BC and expanded it into a walled town. There still remain ruins of the Roman city walls and Roman baths. Julius Caesar called it Liberalitas Julia (Julian generosity). The city used to be the junction of several important trade routes. The monumental Corinthian temple in the centre of the town dates from the first century and was probably erected in honour of Emperor Augustus.

Our destination, the Igreja de São Francisco (St. Francis Church)  and Capela dos Ossost (the Chapel of Bones)

A wash basin at the nearby municipal fish market, which we visited whilst waiting for our guide

one of the entrances of the fish market

Not very many stalls there, just one or two

Quite a variety, including garoupa, salmon, dogfish, squids and many other kinds of fish whose name I don't know

a de-skinned Tamboril (monk fish) fish

The piscaca

The sign board at one of its entrance

Some graffiti on its walls


Houses on the opposite side of the road


The chaotic organic growth typical of more ancient towns

Another small chapel right opposite the Franciscan church or is it a monastery of the Franciscan friars?

The Saint Francis Church from a different angle

another view of its façade

The arcade in front of the church, with its 7 Gothic arches incorporating Moorish features, is unique in Portuguese architecture:

Its main entrance, showing definite Moorish features and Manueline marine rope-like pillars. Above the entrance we see a pelican, the emblem of King João II and also an armillary, the , emblem of King Manuel I.

The car park

The interior of the Gothic church tinged with some Manuline elements built between 1475-1550s.

The church was designed by Martim Lourenço and replaced an earlier Romanesque church first built there in 1226. The church has the largest nave of this kind found in Portuguese churches, having 12 open chapels upon its sides. Buried here is Gil Vicente , the father of Portuguese drama 

A closer view of the altar

Light from the stained glass window

Holy Mother and Child 

Another altar with heavy gold ornamented pillars

The door with emblems of two Portuguese kings: the pelican and the sword and shield

Jesus being baptized by his cousin St. John the Baptist

Marble balustrades

Various notices inside the church: tears not seen by anyone, Days of Genocide

A confessional

 St. Francis of Assisi?

The wounded Jesus?

Another wounded Jesus: the wound in a different place

Blood gushing out from the second wound

Who is that?

As in so many other churches built in the late 15th and early 16th century Portugal, it's full of gold ornaments. This one show
typical Manueline features

Another side altar in elaborate floral design

a similar but slightly less elaborate floral design in lighter colors

Young lover bathed in the glow of love

Jesus surrounded by saints

Another Jesus with a crown of light

The Holy Child and Child

St. Francis the shepherd of souls?

Francisan Friars with the coarse brown robes

A corridor leading from the church to the famous Chapel of Bones at its side. The chapel was built by a contemplative Franciscan monk in the 16th century.who wanted to remind the Portuguese that all the gold and other forms of wealth they got from Brazil and other colonies will not protect them against  death

Above its mantel of the chapel are words in Portuguese "Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos" which translates into "We bones that here are, for yours await"

a painting

The lower portion of the wall is decorated typically with azulejo tiles

elaborate gold floral patterns on the roof of the chapel

More sombre paintings signifying the ever present threat of death

a wedding?

Part of the walls of the chapel, decorated with an estimated 5,000 actual human skulls and bones taken from various churchyards. The pillars of the chapel is also supported by 8 columns of bones.
The ceiling is made of white painted brick and is painted with death motifs. Some of these skulls have been scribbled with graffiti. Two desiccated corpses, one of which is a child, dangle from ropes. And at the roof of chapel is the phrase "Melior est die mortis die nativitatis (Better is the day of death than the day of birth)" (Ecclesiastes, 7, 1). The chapel is intended to be a centre for contemplation, meditation and prayer. The Buddhists also have a similar training technique for its monks

One of the pillars of bones and skulls

a tiny window of light amongst the dark inside of the chapel of bones

Two other windows. Perhaps the reason why there are only a total of 3 windows  in the entire chapel may be that the architect intended to suggest that rtheologically, there really are three windows of light in a human life: the three persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father the Creator of heaven and earth, the Son, the earthly incarnation of the Father in human form and the Holy Spirit, which is the love between the Father and the Son?

The only place in the entire chapel free of bones and skulls is the altar:: the meaning of this exception should be blindlingly obvious 

One of the doors to the chapel: the human skulls are much much more than inconspicuous

Another column of bones and skulls

The pedestal to the column of skulls and bones.

The base of another column of bones and skulls Are human bones that different from lifeless  stones?


rows and rows of skulls

close up of skulls and bones in one of the walls

A spandrel of human skulls and bones

Columns and arches of bones

A sarcophacus with the bones of an adult and that of a child

a close up of the skeleton of the adult

a close up of that of the child

The tomb of Bishop Jacinto Carlos da Silveira, the founder of the convent and sarcophagus, killed by French Revolutionary soldiers in 1808.

The corridor from the Chapel of Bones back to the Saint Francis Church. One can see that one of the doors of the Chapel has been sealed, perhaps for reasons of preservation?

Some of the old Romaneque columns of the former church here have been retained


As are some of the old stones,as a reminder of its own history


The horse-shoe arches also remind us of an episode in the Moorish control of Portugal

some cartoon drawings on the ceiling mocking human life

A cartoon on the wall, showing a man, a woman and child: in the endless cycles of life and perhaps death

There is a poem hung on a wooden frame on one of the pillars written by Father António da Ascenção Teles, parish priest of the village of São Pedro (wherein the Church of Saint Francis with its Capela dos Ossos was erected) from 1845 to 1848.

Aonde vais, caminhante, acelerado?
Pára...não prossigas mais avante;
Negócio, não tens mais importante,
Do que este, à tua vista apresentado.

Recorda quantos desta vida têm passado,
Reflecte em que terás fim semelhante,
Que para meditar causa é bastante
Terem todos mais nisto parado.

Pondera, que influido d'essa sorte,
Entre negociações do mundo tantas,
Tão pouco consideras na morte;

Porém, se os olhos aqui levantas,
Pára...porque em negócio deste porte,
Quanto mais tu parares, mais adiantas.


Padre António da Ascenção Teles,

Where are you going in such a hurry traveler?
Stop … do not proceed;
You have no greater concern,
Than this one: that on which you focus your sight.

Recall how many have passed from this world,
Reflect on your similar end,
There is good reason to reflect
If only all did the same.

Ponder, you so influenced by fate,
Among the many concerns of the world,
So little do you reflect on death;

If by chance you glance at this place,
Stop … for the sake of your journey,
The more you pause, the further on your journey you will be

tr. Father Carlos a Martin

I have also visited a similar tower of bones and skulls in Cambodia in another visit. Strangely the feeling I got from looking at so many human skulls and bones here is one of a sense of proportion, a sense of irony and perhaps even a sense of peace but there, it was a sense of horrendous shock, dismay and utter horror.