What is noteworthy about these churches is, despite the fact they stand as two different religious edifices, they form, as it were, an apparently single architectural structure. Their story goes as follows: the Carmelite Church was built in the 17th century, and, as the name suggests, it was populated by the Carmelite order of nuns. It is a rather sober edifice, at least on the outside, featuring a plain facade and a bell tower. On the inside it is lushly decorated.
The Carmo Church was, however, built in the 18th century. Architecturally speaking, it is much more eye-catching, being an expression of the Baroque style. The inside is pegged out by seven altars, works of Francisco Pereira Campanha, and the exterior is decorated with ceramic tiles brightening with their specific hues (white and blue) the architectural complex. The monastery was built in order to be populated monks.
Now, the two churches are separated by the world’s narrowest house, a house which amounts to no more than one meter in width. It used to be inhabited until the 1980s. The reason of placing a house between the two religious edifices was to make sure there was no communication of the worldly kind between the nuns of the Carmelite Church and the monks at the Carmo Church, as well as the fact a certain unwritten law stated that no two churches should share a wall in common.
This is, indeed, a curious structure with interesting historical references related to it. It is definitely one of the must-visits of Porto.
Rua da Carmo, Porto, Portugal