Under the distinctibe white dome, the National Parthenon pays tribute to luminaries in Portuguese history and culture, including navigators, kings, presidents, writers, poets, and even soccer players.
The distinctive white dome of Igreja de Santa Engrácia is visible from all around, and you will most likely have noticed it especially if you looked toward the east from the top of Castelo San Jorge, tucked in behind the turrets of Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in the Alfama neighborhood.
The original church was destroyed in a storm in 1681, but it was rebuilt in Baroque style. And vying for the record for behind-schedule construction projects, it took a very long time. The first stone in the rebuilding was laid quickly—in 1682—but it was not until 1966 that the church was considered completed.
Now Igreja de Santa Engrácia serves as the National Pantheon, a burial place and tribute hall to luminaries in Portuguese history and culture.
Under a giant cupola, the floor and walls are decorated in colored marbles. Along the sides are cenotaphs to figures like Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator (they’re not actually buried here), and small rooms off to the sides hold tombs of poets, politicians, and even soccer players such as several presidents of Portugal, fado singer Amália Rodrigues, footballer Eusébio, and the writer João de Deus.
You can head up to the rooftop for some wonderful views out over the residential Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon and the Tagus River and port.
Opening Hours: October/March 10-5. April/September 10-6.
Closed: January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, June 13, December 24 and 25.
You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Portugal (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.
The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Portugal here.