The church dedicated to St. James, rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake
There has been a church dedicated to St. James on this spot (just below the castle walls) since the 1100s, but the original building collapsed in the earthquake of 1755.
The gold-covered altarpiece in the church
It was where explorer Christopher Columbus married his Portuguese wife Filipa Perestrelo in 1479, and was the starting point of the Portuguese Way of St. James, attracting numerous pilgrims every year.
The interior of the church
Today, the rebuilt church is almost always closed, only opening twice a week for Mass. If you find it open, it’s worth taking a look inside, as its plain façade with a single bell tower hides a treasure of gilded art. That’s a remarkable gold-covered altarpiece dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, created before the earthquake and seen to the right as you enter.
Tile panels were added after the church's reconstruction
On the walls are tile panels added in the 1800s, illustrating the “Mysteries of the Life of the Virgin.” In a corner is a baroque Pietà sculpture.
How to Get to Igreja de Santiago
Bus 737, which departs from Praça da Figueira, stops right next to the church. Trams 12 and 28 also stop around the corner, but those are usually too slow and crowded to be recommended. You can also just walk for 5 minutes up the hill from the cathedral, following the tram tracks.
You may ride the bus and the trams (as well as the city’s metro, funiculars and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
Rua de Santiago, 3, Alfama
Admission and Tickets to Igreja de Santiago
Admission is free.
Only opens on Wednesdays at 5:30pm and on Sundays at 9am (except in August)