Carmo and Carmelitas churchs (Igrejas Carmo e Carmelitas)
The twin plantation of two churches is a rarity in the national urban panorama, constituting a scenography of great visual impact in the noble area of Oporto in the 18th century, marked by the spirit of the urbanism of the Enlightenment – refers to the decree of 2013 that establishes the classification of the whole as a national monument. In fact, this side-by-side arrangement makes it possible to observe two buildings of great quality, illustrating the historical evolution of art in Portugal.
The Carmelitas church or Carmelitas Descalços (Barefoot) church is located in the parish of Vitória. It began to be built in 1616 and was completed in 1628. The interior decoration would only be finished in 1650.
The old convent building is now occupied by the “Comando Territorial do Porto” of the GNR, Guarda Nacional Republicana.
The granite stonework façade has three entrances with perfect turn arches, topped by an equal number of niches, with the images of St. Joseph (S. José), St. Teresa of Jesus (S. Teresa de Jesus) and Our Lady Carmel (Nossa Senhora do Carmo) in the center.
The upper body contains three windows, the central one being rectangular in shape and the two lateral ones rectangular in shape. The façade is topped by a triangular pediment with balusters.
It has a bell tower on the left side, covered with blue monochrome tiles, topped by a bulb-shaped dome.
Next to the church of the first order of the Carmelitas Descalços church is the church of the third order.
The church of the Venerável Ordem Terceira de Nossa Senhora do Carmo was built between 1756 and 1768, right next to the church of the first order of Carmelitas Descalços. It follows a project by Figueiredo Seixas, a fundamental name of northern architecture between baroque and neoclassical, with some alterations with the touch of Nicolau Nasoni.
In 1912, the side façade of the Church of Carmo was covered with a magnificent panel of tiles, representing scenes allusive to the foundation of the Carmelitas Order and Mount Carmel. The composition was designed by Silvestre Silvestri, painted by Carlos Branco.
Between the two churches there is one that is often considered the narrowest house in Oporto. It is a space belonging to the church of the third order that gives access to the bell tower that, curiously, is next to the church of the Carmelitas Descalços. To ring the bells, the bell tower had to climb three floors and pass over the vault the church of the first order until it reached the tower.
Inside this narrow building, it is possible to have access to a small apartment, was destined for the exclusive use of the priests of the Carmo church and also to the Catacombs.