The wonderful Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon is one of the main tourist attractions of the city for its high historical and architectural value and monumental size. Located in the Belém district, it waits to be admired next to other iconic and important Portuguese monuments, such as the Belém Tower.
The Jeronimos Monastery was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
History of the Jeronimos Monastery
The monastery was built in the 16th century under the reign of King Manuel I of Portugal to commemorate the voyage of Vasco da Gama, the first Portuguese commander to sail directly from Europe to India.
Vasco da Gama and his men embarked on 8 July, 1497 with destination to India. Before leaving they spent the night in the hermitage of Restelo, belonging to the Order of the Jerónimos. Upon returning from his trip 2 years later (1499) King Manuel I ordered the construction of the Jeronimos Monastery as a commemoration.
Spicy fact: The monastery was initially financed with money from the commerce of pepper – specifically 5% of the Portuguese pepper trade was destined for its construction.
Architecture of the Jeronimos Monastery
The Jeronimos Monastery is a tribute to the time of discovery and the maximum representation of Manueline architecture. This elegant and typically Portuguese style mixes influences of late Gothic, the beginning of the Renaissance and maritime elements as a tribute to the discoveries that brought enormous wealth to Portugal, resulting in a unique style.
Due to the enormous amount of money destined to its construction, the architects had no limits or economic restrictions, and it is easy to appreciate it in the 300-meters long building and the richness of its elegant interiors.
The Spanish architect Juan del Castillo was in charge of carrying out the work. The masterpieces of this architect had an important impact on Portuguese architecture and as much as 5 of his buildings are considered World Heritage by UNESCO.
Below, we present the highlights that you can’t miss.
1. The Main Church (Church of Santa Maria de Belém)
The Church is truly spectacular for the breadth and height of the ribbed vault supported by pillars, which by the extension of its nerves look like palm trees – a unique and memorable view. The church also houses monuments and paintings of interest and great artistic value.
2. The Magnificent Cloister
The cloister is one of the crown jewels of the visit. The unusual two-story architecture of unequal height due to the influence of two architects offers an unconventional visual experience. On the other hand, the arches and the rich Manueline decoration, loaded with maritime and religious motifs, as well as an important influence of the Spanish plateresque elevate the work and bear witness to the richness of the time of the discoveries, which marks the beginning of Portugal becoming an Empire.
3. The entrance to the Church
The entrance to the church offers an interesting transition from the Gothic style to the Renaissance, designed by the French sculptor Nicolás Chanterenne.
Below, you will find all you need to know about the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.
- Price: 12 euro full entry (Monastery + archaeological museum, which is located there). 10 euro entrance to the monastery (adults). 50% discount for people over 65, disabled or students.
- Schedule: October-April: 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May-September: 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
- Web: http://www.mosteirojeronimos.gov.pt/pt/index.php
- Address: Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugalia