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Igreja de São Roque

Sao Roque Church Interior - Lisbon Igreja de Sao Roque© IPPAR / All rights reserved

Sao Roque church

The earliest Jesuit church in Portugal and one of the first in the world, the Igreja de São Roque was built in the 16th century specifically for preaching. When built it was positioned beyond the walls of the city to cut it off from Lisbon and was used as a burial ground for those victims of the plague. It is one of the few buildings in Lisbon to survive the 1755 earthquake.

As with other Jesuit churches, the exterior is deceivingly plain and easily missed. Inside however is a different story with a number of lavishly decorated chapels built in the 17th century Baroque style. The interior is adorned with royal patronage decorations from tile panelling and gold leafing to stunning marble.

The chapel was actually originally built in Rome in 1742 using some of the most expensive materials of the time including jade, marble and amethyst, and took eight years for completion. Once blessed by the Pope it was then disassembled and brought over via ship to Lisbon to be rebuilt in 1747.

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