Capilla de los Huesos: “We, the bones that are here, wait for yours”

The construction of the Capilla de los Huesos or the Chapel of Bones took place in the 17th century in the historic city of Évora, Portugal. The construction started with the initiative of three Franciscan friars who aimed to remind people of the transience as well as the fragility of human life. The walls, cornices, and eight columns inside the chapel are all covered with skulls and bones. According to the estimations, there are 5000 human skulls inside the chapel among other bones brought from other church cemeteries in the vicinity. The friars thought of this eerie decoration also as a solution to cemeteries which took up so much space during the 16th century.

Capilla de los Huesos

Capilla de los Huesos has 5000 human skulls embedded in its walls.

Capilla de los Huesos
H.M. Murdock

The chapel consists of three naves measuring around 18.70 meters long and 11 meters wide. Unlike the walls and the pillars, the vaults are decorated with Renaissance and Baroque paintings, alluding to death. Some of the skulls also have graffiti on them. Additionally, there are two mummified corpses hanging from chains, one belonging to a child.

The insrciption means “We the bones that are here, we wait for yours.” Photographed by v4l3ntin4_traveler
Capilla de los Huesos
Capilla de los Huesos
Capilla de los Huesos