Igreja São Domingos (Church of Saint Domingo)

Igreja de São Domingos, Largo São Domingos, Lisbon, Portugal

Though seemingly plain from the outside, this national monument is breathtaking on the inside. Dedicated in 1241, Igreja São Domingos has seen nearly eight centuries of Portuguese history—the good and the tragic. It has hosted royal weddings, suffered considerable damage in both the 1531 and 1755 earthquake and served as the home of the Inquisition. Rebuilt following the 1755 earthquake, it was damaged again in 1959 by a fire that gutted the church and destroyed many of the paintings and statues inside. Here you will not find a perfectly preserved and restored church decked in gold, fine paintings and the glossy marble of the baroque age. Instead, you will find a deceptively massive interior written with tragedy but still standing all the same, the curving dusky red ceiling held up by scorched and chipped columns, the high altar supported by red marble columns. This is not your typical church visit, but it just may be the most awe-inspiring.

Written by Abby Sandman

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