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The Soldiers' Hospital: Two Centuries of Evolution and History

15 Sep 202218h – 19h

By Susana Henriques, Liliana Matias de Carvalho (CIAS - University of Coimbra, Research Centre for Anthropology and Health, Department of Life Sciences) and Carlos Alves (EON - Creative Industries)

Free admission, subject to room capacity

Rua do Recolhimento tells part of the immense history of the city of Lisbon and of one of its most emblematic neighbourhoods, the Bairro do Castelo. Archaeological work carried out over four years uncovered a part of the history of Lisbon's citadel, a narrative that had fallen into oblivion among citizens and scholars alike. 

Structural and architectural analysis leads us to hypothesise that this is the site of the first hospital to be founded in 16th-century Lisbon, the Soldiers' Hospital, or Hospital de San Filipe y Santiago, which was in full operation in 1592 under the administration of the Hospital Brothers of São João de Deus, helping Spanish sailors and soldiers active in the conquest of Portugal.

In the late 17th century, the building underwent vast remodelling in order to transform a living and utilitarian space into a space for the dead. Thus were the conditions of a new cemetery created. We argue that the dynamics emerging in this space, which evolved and changed in terms of both form and function, point towards the existence on the site of a hospital, both in terms of the use of the building and in the subsequent necropolis. The 1755 earthquake caused the collapse of the Military Hospital of São João de Deus and the subsequent abandonment of the cemetery.


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