“Jeronimos Monastery” is one of the most attractive spots in Balem region of Lisbon. King Manuel I ordered the building of this monastery to express his gratefulness to Holy Spirit on the safe return of Vasco de Gama and other voyagers. This aesthetically beautiful work is under the protection of UNESCO as a world heritage.
The Construction of the “Jeronimos Monastery”
In 1496, Vasco de Gama safely returned from his voyage and King Manuel I asked permission from Pope to build this monastery. The construction began in 1501 and it took 100 years to complete. For Portuguese people of the time, the construction of this monastery was one of the most important religious events. As it took 100 years to build, more and more treasures came from newly discovered lands to keep the construction process going.
The architecture of the monastery is considered as one of the best examples of “Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline” style. Even after the Great Earthquake of 1755, “Jeronimos Monastery” remained standing with small damage.
The Church of the “Jeronimos Monastery”
The monastery replaced the church of “Santa Maria de Belem” and became “Mosteiro (Monastery) da Santa Maria de Belem”. However, it is most widely known by its nickname “Jeronimos Monastery”. There is no other church in the world that can match the unique design of the church inside “Jeronimos Monastery”. Three important figures in Portugal’s history rest here: Vasco da Gama, Fernando Pessoa and Luís de Camões.
The decorative ornamentation and symbolism in the cloister will astonish you at first sight. Each column in the cloister is carved with different sea figures, representing the ongoing sea voyages and discoveries of the time. If you enter the cloister part, you can see the church part of the monastery from above. One of the halls in this cloister presents the monastery’s history in relation to the Portugal’s and world’s history.
When You’re at “Jeronimos Monastery”
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the “Archeology Museum” right next to the monastery. Also the “Belem Tower”, another important symbol of the Age of Discoveries is a must-see attraction nearby. “Discoveries Monument” is another attraction close to the monastery that reflects on Portugal’s history of discoveries.
PS: You can enter the church part for free but the entrance to the cloister costs 10 euros. First Sunday of each month, the entrance is free. You can also get a “Lisboa Card” for free entrance.
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