Photograph: Nuno Ferreira Santos
The first “lunatic asylum” in Portugal, Miguel Bombarda, opened in Lisbon in 1848. Now, as a psychiatric hospital, its history is coming to an end. Its closure is the end of an era.
Its last 24 inhabitants are moving. The place that has been their home for an average of 40 years is going to be turned into a condominium with tall buildings and multi-floored underground garages. Their memories will be erased.
While they are moving into their new house they try to convince themselves they won’t miss the old place. In his new home, Ernesto keeps repeating “It´s so nice in here, it’s so nice in here. We’re better off here, yes we are”, he mumbles as a self-comforting prayer. The nurses that have taken care of them for decades are just waiting to close the door to start crying. Ernesto has one last minute request. “Can I go back?”. “This house is beautiful but it’s not our home”.