Chapel of Bones

In the 16th century, valuable land was being used for more than 43 cemeteries around Evora so the local monks built a chapel to relocate the bones. In an effort to improve their society’s values, they thought it would be helpful to display the thousands of bones where people could see them. The interior walls and pillars of the building are covered and decorated with human bones, skulls and entire skeletons. This would be a reminder to anyone who entered that material things are not lasting and that death is inevitable for everyone. The message above the entrance to the chapel door says, “We bones, are here, waiting for yours.” Above the altar at the end of the chapel is a hopeful, Latin phrase meaning, “The day that I die is better than the day that I was born.”