The sober exterior of Convento dos Cardaes
This convent is a unique example of Lisbon architecture before the Great Earthquake of 1755. Built between 1677 and 1703, it remarkably survived the disaster, and preserves the original baroque and rococo interior, with walls lined with Portuguese and Dutch tile panels. The richness of the decorative tiles, gilt, marble, and paintings contrast with a sober exterior, which also hides the residence of Dominican nuns.
The gold- and tile-covered church
The tile panels of the church are extraordinary, as they date from 1692 and were created by one of Amsterdam’s leading tile artists of the time, Jan van Oort (these are the only ones in existence that were signed by him). They tell the story of St. Teresa of Avila, who was venerated here.
Tile panels by Jan van Oort, one of Amsterdam’s leading tile artists
The church also features a notable altarpiece from 1693, which is one of the finest examples of gilded wood carving in Lisbon. There are also eight paintings, by several artists of the time, with golden frames. This blending of gilt and blue-and-white tile panels is typical of Portuguese baroque, and this is one of the most significant and best-preserved examples in the city.
The convent has a small shop, selling products made by the nuns, like jams and cookies. During the Christmas season, it also opens its doors for tea and brunch in the small cloister.
How to Get to Cardaes Convent
The convent is just over a 10-minute walk from the Rato metro station (last stop of the yellow line), or a 5-minute walk down the hill from Praça do Príncipe Real, which is one of the stops of tram 24, which departs from Praça Luís de Camões in Chiado.
You may ride the metro and the tram (as well as the city’s buses, funiculars and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
Rua de O Século, 123, Príncipe Real
Admission and Tickets to Cardaes Convent
Tickets are €5.00. It’s not included in the Lisboa Card.
It only opens in the afternoon, from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
It's closed on Sundays
Be sure to go inside Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, a Moorish Revival palace on Praça do Príncipe Real, which is now a beautiful shopping gallery. Two of Lisbon’s richest churches -- Igreja de São Roque and Igreja de Santa Catarina -- are also within walking distance of the convent.