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Igreja de Santa Engrácia-Panteão Nacional
Campo de Santa Clara
1100-471 Lisbon, Portugal
tel: +351 (0)21 885 4820
NileGuide Expert tip:
Visit either on Tuesday or Saturday mornings and combine the sightseeing with a trip to Feira da Ladra flea market in nearby Campo de Santa Clara.
Over to the east of the city punctuating the Alfama skyline is much-admired Lisbon landmark – the milk-white dome of Santa Engrácia. The baroque monument dates from 1682 and was built over the ruins of an earlier church that collapsed the previous year during a violent storm. Incredibly, it took 284 years to complete the building work; the aforementioned dome was in fact added as recently as 1966. But it's this modern architectural feature that is the most endearing quality of the exterior. Pink and gold-coloured marble embellishes the interior which, as the National Pantheon, houses the cenotaphs to some of Portugal's most revered historical and cultural figures including Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator. The fadista
Amália Rodrigues is also commemorated here. The giant cupola echoes to the footsteps of a regular flow of visitors but it's the city panorama enjoyed from the exterior platform circling the dome that is the real draw. It's 181 steps to the top, or a quick jaunt by elevator.