Overview of Jeronimos Monastery

Situated in Santa Maria de Belem in Lisbon, the Jeronimos Monastery stands as a monumental symbol of the history and culture of Portugal. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed in the Age of Discovery, which is a pivotal era when Europeans ventured into uncharted waters. Originating from a dilapidated church, it served as a last refuge for sailors before their voyages. Commissioned by King Manuel I and dedicated to St. Jerome, the monastery housed Heironymite Monks. It seamlessly blends Manueline, Mannerist, Renaissance, and Late Gothic styles and also memorialises the journey of Vasco da Gama to India. Decorated with maritime motifs, it hosts the tombs of Portuguese royalty and notable figures, like Vasco da Gama, Fernando Pessoa, King Manuel I, and poet Luis de Camões. On your visit to the Jeronimos Monastery Lisbon, you can stroll through its gardens and admire the architectural beauty of the arches in the cloister, facade, and chapel

History of Jeronimos Monastery

History of Jeronimos Monastery
  • Dating back to 1501, the original church dedicated to Santa Maria de Belem was replaced with Jeronimos Monastery Lisbon under the orders of King Manuel I.
  • The attraction took 40 years to complete in 1541 by combining the Gothic and Manueline styles.
  • Several notable figures like Vasco da Gama and poet Luís de Camões find their resting place within the church.
  • Initially occupied by the Order of Saint Jerome monks, the monastery served as a spiritual haven for sailors and royal prayers. 
  • An earthquake occurred in the Great Lisbon in 1755, which caused considerable damage to the monastery and was then used as a French troop barracks during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • The restoration work commenced in 1833 after the dissolution of religious orders and gave it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
  • When Pope Paul Vi paid a visit to Portugal in 1967, he paid homage to Vasco da Gama.
  • The year 2001 marked the 500th anniversary of the monastery when a new statue of King Manuel I was unveiled, along with a range of events and exhibitions.
  • A significant restoration project was conducted from 2010 to 2011, supported by the Portuguese government and private donors, that focused on the church and cloisters, involving cleaning, repairs, and conservation work.

Architecture of the Jeronimos Monastery

 Architecture  of the Jeronimos Monastery
  • Jerónimos Monastery showcases the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline architectural style, which is a fusion of Gothic, Renaissance, and Moorish elements.


  • The exterior part of the monastery features intricate maritime motifs and sculptural decorations, which symbolise the connection of Portugal to the sea, navigation, and discoveries.


  • Inside the attraction, you will discover a grand hall, cloisters, and the Church of Santa Maria that dazzles with a vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and tombs of historical figures

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  • The west wing became home to the National Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum in the 19th century.

Attractions of Jeronimos Monastery

Tomb of Vasco da Gama
Tomb of Vasco da Gama

 The Tomb of Vasco da Gama in Jerónimos Monastery commemorates the historic journey of the legendary Portuguese explorer to India. As the first European to reach India by sea and connect Europe to Asia, the tomb of Vasco da Gama was created in the chancel of the church. This ornate stone tomb adorned within the lower choir not only serves as a final resting place of Vasco da Gama but also invites you to delve into the life and achievements of this influential figure who shaped the place of Portugal on the world map

Chapter House
Chapter House

Completed in the 19th century, the Chapter House is another attraction in Jerónimos Monastery that displays late Gothic architecture. Its magnetic allure lies in a vaulted ceiling embellished with 16th-century frescoes that depict the life of St. Jerome. In this centre of the attraction, you will find the tomb of Alexandre Herculano, surrounded by intricate carvings. The grandeur of the room is further enhanced by statues of St. Jerome and Archangel Michael at the entrance. 


 Confessionals
Confessionals

 Confessionals are 12 attractive rooms in the monastery that are adorned with beautiful pillars, elaborate carvings, and stained-glass windows. These confession rooms showcase intricate Manueline designs, with black doors providing a sober foreground to the detailed surroundings. Designed for both priest and penitent, the confessionals create a serene atmosphere for reflection. The play of southern light through the stained-glass windows creates an intriguing and spiritually significant part of the Jerónimos Monastery

 Baptismal Chapel
Baptismal Chapel

 Initially dedicated to Saint Leonard, the Baptismal Chapel in the monastery was later transformed in the 19th century with neo-Manueline designs. It offers an austere ambience through a baptismal font from the same era. Located on the left of the main Chapel, this attraction provides a unique contrast to the nearby gilded Chapel of Our Lord of Steps. The presence of the baptismal font and its neo-Manueline aesthetics contribute to the historical and religious significance of the chapel within the monastery.

What To Do At Jeronimos Monastery

Stroll through the gardens
Stroll through the gardens

 On your visit to Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, you can take a walk through the palace gardens across the street. The luscious greenery and a large fountain in the garden are a refreshing retreat to the eyes of the visitors. It is a wonderful area, where you can unwind and enjoy the natural surroundings

Admire the beautiful architecture of the cloister
Admire the beautiful architecture of the cloister

You can marvel at the beauty of the Manueline architecture of the cloisters in Jerónimos Monastery. It allows you to witness the white marble columns and delicate arches that encircle a serene courtyard, creating a symbolic representation of the rich history of Portugal. 


 Look for the tombs of famous historical figures
Look for the tombs of famous historical figures

 If you are a history buff, you love to discover the tombs of renowned figures in the monastery. At this place, you can find the resting places of Vasco da Gama, Fernando Pessoa, King Manuel I, and poet Luis de Camões. You can pay homage to these influential individuals and gain insights into the cultural and literary heritage of Portugal.


Explore the Chapel
Explore the Chapel

While exploring the Jeronimos Monastery, you will come across the Chapel of Senhor dos Passos, where a 17th-century wood masterpiece awaits behind an iron grill. You can catch a glimpse into the artistry of a bygone era through these intricate wood carvings. The roof embellished with towering columns and arches also creates a visually stunning spectacle

Enjoy the beautiful facade from the outside
Enjoy the beautiful facade from the outside

After admiring the beauty of the interiors, you can revel in the awe-inspiring details of the exteriors of the monastery. Also, you can appreciate the architectural beauty of intricate detailing that graces the facade of the monastery

Take gazillion photos of arches
Take gazillion photos of arches

You can immerse yourself in capturing the beautiful arches and soaring ceilings inside the Church of Santa Maria. The grand stone arches and carved wooden ceilings provide a perfect backdrop for countless photos that allow you to cherish the architectural splendour of this historical monument

Know Before You Book Jeronimos Monastery

Essential Information
How to Reach
Best Time to Visit
Visitor's Tips
Essential Information
  • Location : The exact location of Jeronimos Monastery is Praça do Império, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal. It is situated in the Belém district of Lisbon on the banks of the Tagus River


  • Opening Hours : The opening hours of the Jeronimos Monastery are between 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. from October to April, with the last entry at 5 p.m. Between May and September, the attraction remains open from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., with the last entry at 6 p.m. You must also note that the monastery remains closed on Mondays, 1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st May, and 5th December.

FAQ's

What is the history of the Jeronimos Monastery?

    The Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon was built in the Age of Discovery to honour the successful voyage of the explorer Vasco Da Gama to India. It took about 40 years to complete and showcase stunning Portuguese and Late Gothic architecture. Originally home to monks and guiding sailors, the monastery became a royal burial place of several notable figures like Vasco Da Gama, King Manuel, and poet Fernando Pessoa. Abandoned in 1833, it remains a historical gem that narrates stories of exploration and Portuguese heritage

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