LISBON: Jeronimos Monastery

Time to read:

1 minute

The Jeronimos Monastery struck me as one of the most impressive religious structures I’d seen in 50 years of European travel. The city tourist office calls Jeronimos Monastery the most prestigious place of worship in Lisbon.

The monastery was begun in 1502, partly to commemorate the naval achievements of Vasco da Gama, who had established the sea link to India four years earlier. The west wing of the monastery, just to the left of the tall tower, is Lisbon’s Maritime Museum.

The monastery was completed in 100 years, and the scale of its architectural (Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style) ambition is humbling. The monastery and the nearby Belem Tower have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983.

The ornate Manueline south portal.

The Monastery’s lush, ornate decoration makes stone seem as light as air.

The church of the monastic complex, dedicated to Santa Maria, is the most spectacular of the architectural sections.

The monastery contains the tomb of Vasco da Gama.


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