Convento de Chelas

Inside the Convento de Chelas with Lisbon Open House

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Once a year Lisbon Open House swings open the doors to some of the city’s most interesting and exclusive buildings for one weekend. I, of course, scoured the website looking for access to tiles and I found it: Convento de Chelas.

I’d never been to the Lisbon suburb of Chelas. Most of it seems to be an empty grassy valley, but somehow at the centre of all sits this ancient, semi-forgotten convent that now houses the military and army archives and a secret garden within. Apparently, the Feira do Relogio, Lisbon’s Sunday market, pops up here too.

From what I could gather, our extremely enthusiastic Lisbon Open House guide knew his stuff but his Portuguese was fast so I only caught half of what was said. But let’s be honest, I wasn’t too fussed about the symbolism of numbers represented in the building… I just wanted to look at azulejos.

Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas

Some quick history…. It’s thought that the original monastery here was built by the Visigoths to house the relics of São Félix in the 7th century. Portuguese king Afonso Henrique had it rebuilt and gave it to the templars. Then it became a female convent, with alterations in the 16th century. After Lisbon’s mega earthquake in 1755 much of it had to be rebuilt again. That’s when the tiles came into play along with the Manueline-style tile-covered portal. 

One of the oldest monastic buildings in the city, it’s also known as the Convento de São Félix and Santo Adrião de Chelas.

Read next: Tile of the day: Porto’s famous São Bento Station

Incredible azulejos at Convento de Chelas
Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas
Incredible azulejos at Convento de Chelas
Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas
Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas
Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas
Incredible tiles at Convento de Chelas

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Daniela Sunde-Brown

Daniela Sunde-Brown

I'm an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics
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Headshot of Daniela Sunde-Brown in a tiled dress with a straw hat on

Olá, I'm Daniela

I’m an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics 🙂

– buy me a coffee –

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