he first time I could stare at the eternal gaze of an embalmed deceased took place in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. There is located the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as Carmo Convent - founded in the 14th century by Mr. Nuno Álvares Pereira, it suffered serious
damages in the 18th century by the earthquake which devastated the capital. Nowadays, through the ruins of the Convent it is possible to take delight in having a silent walk and let the magical atmosphere speak by itself.
After this little pleasure, and located inside the Convent, your steps will lead you towards the Carmo Archaeological Museum - divided in a series of lounges according to each historical period, you walk unconsciously in a chronological way, from Prehistory to Modern times. But a particular room will demand your attention: the one dedicated to two of the most relevant archaeologists of Portugal: Mr. Count São Januário and Mr. Joaquim Possidónio Narciso da Silva - he was the founder of the museum and was highly interested in saving the national and cultural heritage from the constant wars and decadence of the religious orders that characterized the 19th century. In such context, he offered some of the pieces from his personal collection to the museum he founded: among them we find in the aforementioned room some items that will call our attention, such as epigraphic pieces from the Roman era, but specially two Pre-Columbian "beautiful girls" (curiously placed near an Egyptian sarcophagus): the morbid mummies of the museum, enclosed each one of them in a piece of glass and exposed to the public - it is relevant to say they are permanently shown to the crowd, and that they are well preserved: both ladies keep their hair as well as some of their teeth, and with empty sockets they stare at you with a macabre laugh, timeless and deathless...
"The morbid mummies of the museum, enclosed each one of them in a piece of glass and exposed to the public"
Álvaro Gómez Sánchez, student and researcher of the Master's degree in Religious Studies at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.