Jeronimos Monastery – one of the 7 wonders in Portugal

Jeronimos Monastery is the most common name of the Saint Mary of Belém Monastery. Located near by Tejo River and the famous Pastéis de Belém, the place draws attention to the magnitude, wealth of details and unique beauty.

 

 

It was the most visited monument in Lisbon in 2013 and is considered world heritage site by UNESCO since 1983. The monastery is definitely a must-see for anyone who visits the Portuguese capital. For Catholics it is worth trying to attend a mass at the church on Sunday, when the choir usually perform making a beautiful celebration.

 

 

The Church of Saint Mary of Belém is open to the public and the access can be done by an entry on the right as soon as you go through the South-door (facing the Rio Tejo). However, you can still meet the cloister of the monastery and other facilities in a visit that is paid but worth. The place holds the tombs of Vasco da Gama, Luís Vaz Camões, Alexandre Herculano, Fernando Pessoa, among others.

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The facade of the monastery has about 300m, with the cloister and the south-door as highlights. The architecture of the building is full of ornamentation and considered the “jewel” of the Manuelino style (Portuguese gothic variation developed during the reign of King Manuel I). Many of the decorative elements brings art symbols of navigation and refer to the Age of Discoveries. These details are the result of the time and historical context in which the construction of the monastery began.

 

 

 

Brief History of the Jeronimos Monastery

In 1496 King Manuel I asked the Santa Sé for permission to build a large monastery at the entrance of Lisbon. On that place, there was already the Church of Saint Mary of Belém, but the works that began in 1501 came to replace the existing building and give life to the Jeronimos Monastery. The construction lasted almost a century and required a huge investment (approximately 5% of revenue from trade with Asia and Africa at the time).

 

Manuel I chose the monks of the Order of St. Jerome to stay at the place and they would be responsible, among other functions, for praying for the soul of the king and provide spiritual assistance to the navigators responsible for the discoveries. For 400 years, this community habited the place, but in 1833 the religious order were dissolved and the monastery was unoccupied.

Jeronimos Monastery

 

Praça do Império, 1400-206 – Lisboa

Tel.: (+351) 213 620 034

Site: http://www.mosteirojeronimos.pt/en/

Price: 10 € – You can get cheaper prices through combined tickets with other monuments or in some special situations that can be found on the website of the monument.

Working hours: October to April: 10am to 5:30pm (last entrance 5pm)/ May to September: 10am to 6:30pm (last entrance 6pm) – closed on Mondays and on January 01/01, 05/01 and 12/25.

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