At the end of the fifteenth century, there was no temple, tower, or museums on the place of Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon. It was a quiet bay from which sailboats set off on their journeys to meet adventures. There was a small chapel of Santa Maria de Belem. In this chapel Vasco da Gama and his sailors spent the night before sailing on an expedition to India.
The sea route to India, discovered by Vasco da Gama, brought Portugal a lot of gold.
On this occasion King Manuel I commissioned the architect Diogo de Boitaca to design and construct the church and monastery on the site of the old chapel. Construction began on 3 July 1502, with work starting on the foundations before moving onto the walls. The construction took nearly 100 years to complete. Three architects took part in the erection. Joan de Castillo and Diogo de Torralva built the chapel, refectory and the southern part of the building. Jeronimo de Roy took up the finishing work.
The monastery belonged to the Order of St. Jerome until 1834. The duties of the monks included the spiritual care of the Portuguese sailors. The mariners prayed and confessed here before sailing and upon their return.
Jerónimos Monastery is considered as one of the most important examples of Portuguese Mannerism (a late-phase variant of Renaissance architecture that developed into Baroque).
The monastery is one of the most remarkable monuments of Portuguese architecture and as such it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jerónimos Monastery and the church of St. Mary are incredibly beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
How you can get there:
* By bus № 727, 729, 28, 714, 751
* By tram № 15Е
October – April: 10am to 5:30pm (last visit at 5 pm)
May – September: 10am to 6:30pm (last visit at 6 pm)
Closed on: 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December