Lioz Limestone


Belem Tower, Lisboa, Portugal

Local native name

Chainette, Encarnadão

Year designation



Limestone; microcrystalline with rudist fossils


Ivory colored and less commonly light or deep pink ('Encarnadao'), seldom yellow ('Amarelo Negrais')

Geological settings

Mesozoic – Cretaceous – “Crystalline limestone with rudists” Unit ()


Lisbon and Sintra counties

Belem Tower, Lisboa, Portugal

From the old to the new world

Lioz was widely used as construction material in many Portuguese monuments over centuries. Its texture, typically showing rudists fossils, gives a decorative character to the rock that was used in most official buildings and churches built in the eighteenth century. It was then recognized as “The Royal Stone”. Lisbon has the best display of Lioz as a fundamental stone in several monuments of different ages. Presently the rock is again widely used in construction, building façades, and metro stations. Old iconic monuments are among the best expositions of this beautiful and good quality stone: The Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to Portuguese Discoveries, and the modern Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, are among a few examples. Near Pero Pinheiro, the Mafra Architectonic complex (Library, Convent, and Church) is another historic ensemble built in Lioz, where several varieties of this rock are exhibited. Different architectonic styles can be identified in these constructions, built from the XVth century to the present. Lioz was carried to Brazil during the XVIIIth century on vessels as ballast and was used there in the construction of official buildings and many churches, inspired mostly by Portuguese, followed by Italian or Spanish temples, transporting to Brazil a very strong influence on the architecture of the local constructions. In Bahia, Lioz supports a wide display of Baroque Art imprinted in its churches. Old quarries can still be recognized in the Lisbon area, but active quarries are in Sintra, mostly in Pero Pinheiro District, where several industries can be found.

Conceição da Praia Church in Bahia, Salvador de Bahía, Brazil

Varieties of Lioz Limestone

Zenaide Silva