Jerónimos Monastery is located in the parish of Belem near Lisbon Portugal.
The history of Jerónimos Monastery
The Jerónimos Monastery was constructed in the Portuguese Manueline style of architecture. Its stunning design allowed it to be classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém, in 1983.
The church of Santa Maria de Belém already existed on the current site. king Manuel I (1469–1521) petitioned the Holy Sea in 1496 for permission to build a monastery on the site. Santa Maria de Belem was occupied by monks of the military-religious Order of Christ. These monks provided assistance for sailors who were passing through the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Tagus River. Santa Maria was in a state of disrepair by 1497 when the legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama spent the night before departing on a voyage of discovery to Asia. Construction of the Monastery began in 1501.
After construction began in 1501 theJerónimos Monastery took 100 to complete. I personally find it hard to imagine that someone could have been born after construction started and died before it was finished. This building would have been a part of so many people’s lives that lived in the area. They would have witnessed the continual progression of the monastery but in their lifetime having never witnessed its completion.
Take a guided tour of Belem
On this guided tour of Belém, you will discover the wonders of this beautiful district, famed for its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and imposing monuments, as well as its delicious custard tarts. The tour will follow the banks of the river Tagus and show you the oldest part of Lisbon, an enclave which survived a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Echoes of what was lost still resound in this former fishing village.
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A visit to Belem is one of the top things to do in Lisbon
King Manuel originally funded the construction of the Monastery with money obtained from theVintena da Pimenta. Vintena da Pimenta was 5 percent tax on commerce and trade from Africa and the Orient This tax-funded King Manuel’s construction costs to the equivalent to 70 kilogrammes (150 lb) of gold per year.
King Manuel 1st installed the religious order of Hieronymite monks to oversee the day to day running and religious practices of the monastery. The monk’s role was to pray for the King’s eternal soul and to provide spiritual assistance to navigators and sailors. The sailors departed from the area looking to discover lands around the world in Portugal’s age of discovery. The monks continued to perform this role for over four centuries until 1833. At this time, religious orders were dissolved and the monastery was abandoned.
Cool things to do in Lisbon – Belem is a must.
The church at the monastery is available to visit for free. The church is dedicated to Santa Maria. You must have your shoulders covered to enter the church showing respect for this site. They sell scarves for you to wear or you may be able to borrow one from the door staff. The church is very beautiful on the inside with high gothic ceilings.Two chapels sit either side of the nave in Church of Santa Maria de Belém. Each chapel contains tombs of the Portuguese royal family. An interesting fact is King Sebastião’s own tomb remains empty as the young king was killed in battle in North Africa. His body was never returned to Portugal.
The Jerónimos Monastery is home to the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luis de Camoes. Da Gama if you don’t know was Portugal’s greatest seafaring explorer during the “Age of Discovery”. Luis de Camoes the great Portuguese poet who through his words championed, the achievements of da Gama. Poets Fernando Pessoa and Alexandre Herculano
The monastery houses the Portuguese Maritime Museum and Archeological Museum. The Church and the facade are the real main attractions of the monastery. We ventured inside after buying tickets but in hindsight, it was only worth it for the architecture which is amazing. The cloisters are magnificent to view and maybe worth the price of entry themselves.
A stroll through the ground floor cloister leads you past a fountain in the shape of a lion, the heraldic animal of St. Jerome. The upper cloister reveals the 12 places where navigators paused for confession and prayer before departing on their voyages. You will find a few small exhibitions on the inside. The only exhibition I found worth noting was ” A place in time” exhibition that was staged in the library.
Lisbon hop on hop off tour will take you to Belem.
The Belém Tour will introduce you to the monuments, museums, and other attractions of Belém and Ajuda in more detail. The Yellow Boat Tour passes under the 25 de Abril bridge, and on to Belém, one of the most interesting quarters of Lisbon. Along the way, you’ll see the Torre de Belém and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
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This exhibition links the monastery its history, Tower of Belém and the surrounding area, with the history of Portugal and the world. The Jerónimos Monastery is worth a look for its history and architecture. It is an awe-inspiring building on a grand scale inspired by men who helped discover our world. For us, it was enough that it is a UNESCO world heritage site. We had to pass by on the way to Belem Tower. Belem Tower is a 20-minute walk for Geronimo’s Monastery. A visit to Belem is one of our 5 things not to miss in Lisbon
Family Travel Tip: buy the combined Monastery Jeronimnos / Belem Tower ticket. This will save you time when you go visit Belem Tower. We walked straight to the front of a 100 meter line at Belem Tower. I could only imagine the complaining that our kids would have done on a 37 degree day waiting in line for entry with no shade at all. This site Monastery Jeronimnos will not appeal to kids at all i must say, there is nothing here for kids. You should be able to be in and out within an hour .
What to know for your visit to Jerónimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery Hours
Where: Praça do Império, Belem
How: Tram 15 ( takes 20 minutes from Commercial square in Lisbon)
Time: 10AM-5PM (Oct.-April), 10AM-6PM (May-Sept.) (Closed Mondays)
Price: 6 euros, or FREE with the Lisboa Tourist Card
Where do we stay in Lisbon?
Lisbon Centre Historic Apartments are located just 200 meters from Rossio square in downtown Lisbon. These apartments are fully self-contained with cooking and washing facilities. Located close to restaurants and attractions Lisbon is right at your doorstep. Stay in these 2 or 3 bedroom apartments.
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