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The Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos) in Faro, Portugal, is appropriately named. There’s no questioning this when you step inside. While some may think of the chapel as being macabre, it actually has a message that makes you think.

The Capela dos Ossos was built using the exhumed bones of over 1,000 Carmelite monks, and it is accessed via the 18th-century Carmelite church Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

Before entering the Chapel of Bones, you pass a sign that reads, “Pára aqui a considerar que a este estado hás-de chegar”. Translation: “Stop here and consider, that you will reach this state too”. We all come from the same place, and we all end up the same way. Sure, it’s not pleasant to think about your death, but I came away with a positive sense of my own mortality.

I found the Chapel of Bones to be one of the most fascinating places I’ve been to, but I can understand how some people might find it a bit creepy. It’s worth a visit if you find yourself in Faro, Portugal. Other similar places around the world include Evora, the Brno Ossuary, and Capuchin Crypt in Brno.

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