The Jerónimos Monastery of Santa María de Belém is located in the Belén neighborhood of the Portuguese capital.
Work on the Jerónimos Monastery began in 1502 and was completed in the 16th century.
However, the western part of the monastery and the bell tower were not completed until the 19th century. This last fact can be easily observed if you look at that part because you will realize that it does not match the rest of the building.
A little history of the Jerónimos Monastery
We can see that the Jerónimos Monastery has a Manueline style, full of references to the sea and to conquests, in short, to new discoveries.
It seems that the site chosen to build it is not the result of chance: in the area, according to tradition, there was a chapel where Vasco de Gama and his crew prayed before leaving for the Indies.
Not in vain, the building was ordered to be built by Manuel I with the taxes of the successful trip of the famous Portuguese explorer.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, the Jerónimos Monastery represents a building to the glory and the golden age of the Portuguese explorers who set out to discover worlds that were impossible for Europe at that time to conceive. Its name comes because
What to see in the Monastery
During the visit we can enjoy a facade of more than three hundred meters long, a beautiful cloister and the incredible church.
These three points are the most important when visiting the monastery.
We will be able to observe how Our Lady of Belém presides over the entrance called Portal del Mediodía and scenes from the life of Saint Jerome can also be seen.
In the western part we find the main door, which is accessed from the Church of Santa María de Belém, where we can see six beautiful columns that support the vault.
The monastery also houses to be able to visit the Museum of Archeology and the Museum of the Navy. The Lisbon Treaty of the European Union was signed in this building in 2007.
The cloister, the great jewel of the monastery
If we access the cloister, we can remain silent to see how the stones, with decoration on the sea and navigation that reminds us of the origin of the monastery, speaks to us and delights us of times already lost and past, but that keep the spirit of glory of the explorers.
The central courtyard of the cloister has been restored and we can also see the tombs of Vasco de Gama and the most famous Portuguese poet of antiquity: Luís de Camões.
And on the second floor of the cloister we will access the upper part of the church where another famous Portuguese poet rests: Fernando Pessoa.
Not only that, we can also visit the museum-room where we will be compared between the history of the monastery and Portugal. Other illustrious characters such as King Manuel I and his family rest in the monument.
You can find more information on the official page of the Jerónimos Monastery.