The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is set in a small garden in Faro's Igreja do Carmo.
The bones and skulls that can be seen are those of over 1200 Carmelite monks that were exhumed from the nearby church cemetery when the ossuary was built in 1816.
An inscription over the entrance reads: “Stop here and consider the fate that will befall you.” A fitting thought as you examine the skulls and femurs that “decorate” the interior.
It’s not the first bone chapel I have visited. The Capuchin bone crypt, a larger, multi roomed, version can be found in Rome, complete with chandeliers made from pelvic bones!
But each one is a fascinating way of emphasising the brevity of human existence and giving us pause to consider our own mortality in the empty eye sockets of those that have gone before us.
I personally found it very serene and peaceful, not at all creepy. Indeed I think it shows a healthy respect for, and embracing of, death.