The origins of Conceição Velha Church can be traced back to the 16th century when King Manuel I of Portugal commissioned the construction of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia (Our Lady of Mercy Church) in 1498. This impressive Manueline-style temple, second only to the grandeur of the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) in Belém, served as the headquarters of the House of Mercy, an institution established to provide assistance to the needy and support various charitable activities.

However, tragedy struck Lisbon on the fateful day of November 1, 1755, when a devastating earthquake, followed by a tsunami and fires, ravaged the city, leaving widespread destruction in its wake. The Church of Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia was not spared, and much of the original structure was reduced to ruins. Despite the immense devastation, the people of Lisbon were determined to rebuild their city, and Conceição Velha Church emerged as a testament to their indomitable spirit.

The reconstruction of Conceição Velha Church began soon after the earthquake, incorporating salvaged elements from the Church of Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia. This blending of old and new elements resulted in a unique architectural composition that combines various styles, including Manueline, Baroque, and Pombaline. The church's façade, adorned with intricate carvings and ornate details, is considered one of the finest examples of surviving Manueline structures, alongside the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower.

As you step inside Conceição Velha Church, you are enveloped by an atmosphere of tranquility and historical significance. The interior, designed in the Pombaline style, features a single nave and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, which serves as the main altar. The chapel houses a remarkable painting dedicated to Our Lady of Restelo, a gift from Infante Dom Henrique to the friars. The interior walls are adorned with exquisite azulejo tiles, depicting religious scenes and intricate stucco work crafted by notable artists Francisco António Ferreira Cangalhas and Honorato José Correia.

Throughout its storied history, Conceição Velha Church has witnessed significant changes. The Brotherhood of Mercy, initially associated with the church, was later transferred to the Jesuit Church of São Roque. The church's name, Conceição Velha (Old Conception), was adopted to distinguish it from the "New" Conceição Church. Over the years, Conceição Velha Church has played a vital role in the spiritual and social life of Lisbon, serving as a place of worship, solace, and community gathering. Recommends

Recognizing its historical and cultural significance, Conceição Velha Church was classified as a national monument in 1910. This designation ensures its preservation and protection, allowing visitors to appreciate its architectural beauty and delve into its captivating history. Each year, countless tourists and locals embark on a journey to this remarkable church, immersing themselves in its timeless charm and connecting with the heritage of Lisbon.

In recent years, the Holy House of Mercy of Lisbon has undertaken extensive restoration efforts to preserve Conceição Velha Church for future generations. In October 2013, the organization announced a substantial investment of €1.1 million for the church's rehabilitation. The restoration work commenced in early 2014, and on December 8 of the same year, Conceição Velha Church once again opened its doors to the public, revealing its renewed splendor.

A visit to Conceição Velha Church is an experience that transcends time. As you explore the church's magnificent architecture, marvel at its intricate details, and absorb its serene ambiance, you become part of a narrative that stretches back centuries. This sacred place serves as a testament to Lisbon's resilience, showcasing the city's ability to rise from the ashes and rebuild itself.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or a spiritual seeker, Conceição Velha Church offers a captivating journey into the heart of Lisbon's past. Plan your visit to this architectural gem, and allow yourself to be transported through time as you discover the captivating stories and artistic treasures held within the walls of Conceição Velha Church.

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