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Witness the Gothic Manueline Monastery in Lisbon, the Jeronimos Monastery
Before becoming Jeronimos Monastery, the site was used by a church for Santa Maria de Belem. The church also housed monks of the military-religious Order of Christ, that provided assistance for sailors and explorers in transit. Jeronimos Monastery was built with the order of Manuel I at the courts of Montemor o Velho in 1495 and was meant for members of the House of Aviz. The church, named Hermitage of Restelo, was already in disrepair when Vasco da Gama and his crews spent the last night there to pray before departing on expedition to far east in 1497. The construction was started in 1501 and finished a century later. After the construction finished, King Manuel I donated the building to the Hieronymites order of monks that were dedicated to Saint Jerome. Thus, the building was named as Jeronimos Monastery, or the Hieronymites Monastery.
Once you arrived at Jeronimos Monastery, then you will see a church named Curch of Santa Maria. There are three naves of the same height connected with vaulted ceiling supported by six circular pillars. When you enter the building, you will find the tombs of Vasco da Gama on the left and Luis de Camoes on the right. Both tombs were made before the 19th century. On the south side, you will see large stained-glass windows created by R. Leone in the 20th century based on the design of Abel Manta. Still in the same building, in the left arm of the transept is the remains of Cardinal - King Dom Henrique, and the children of Manuel I, while in the right arm is the tomb of King Sebastiao and the descendants of King Joao II.
As mentioned before, the Jeronimos Monastery will please the eyes of its visitors. Not just the overall look of the building is beautiful, but the detail that you will find here is definitely fascinating. If you don't believe it, try to go to the South Portal. Though it is functioned only as a side entrance to the church, this point is the visual centre of the Monastery that faces River Tagus. At the top is a statue of the Archangel Michael.On the central part is the statue of Our Lady of Betlehem with her Son. On her hand is a cup that was given by the Magi. Around the Lady are statues representing prophets, apostles, Church notables, and some saints or sibyls. On the archs are two scenes from the life of Saint Jerome, when he removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and when he paid penances in the desert. While between the two archs is the coat of arms belongs to Manuel I. On the lower level, between the two doors is a statue representing Henry the navigator with a knight's suite.
When you go to the Main Portal, you will see the door facing the High Altar. The Main Portal itself facing towards the east, in line with the Christian tradition. The Main Portal was designed by Diogo de Boitaca and was decorated with statues that represents the birth of the Christ. While the statues of Manuel I together with Saint Jerome and the statue of Queen Maria together with Saint John the Baptist are on the each side of the portal. While inside the High Altar are the tombs of Manuel I and Queen Maria on the left side, named the Gospel Side, while on the right side or the Epistle side, are the tombs of Joao III and Queen Catarina.
The must see in the Jeronimos Monastery is the Cloister that is used by the monks of the Hieronymite Order. The original design was created by Diogo de Boitaca. The building was begun in the early 16th century. The building was then continued by Joao de Castilho and was finished by Diogo de Torralva in 1540-1541. The building was built with two storey and decorated with the combination of religious symbols, royal imagery, and naturalist elements, that makes this building one of the most important examples of Manueline architecture. In the lower level, there is the tomb of Fernando Pessoa.
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets were meant to those who want to go to the Cloister and to the National Museum of Archaelogy located on the far left of the Main Portal. Tickets are only sold on site, which usually creates a long line if you are not early enough. If you want to skip the line, you can enter for free with the Lisboa Card, or buy buying combined tickets for the cloister and the museum in National Museum.
How To Get Around?
It is recommmended to get around by foot. Even though it will be a tiring walk, you will be able to enjoy most of the view and the breeze from the river. The church and lower cloister are accessible for persons with reduced mobility. There are also many other attractions not far from the Jeronimos Monastery. You can use this app to guide you along the way.
What Should I Wear?
There is no recommended dresscode for visiting Jeronimos Monastery. However, it is better to wear proper clothes as the building is a religious site.
Best Time to Visit
The Jeronimos Monastery is open from 10.00 - 18.00 during summer and from 10.00 - 17.00 during winter. Be noted that it is closed on Monday. It is better to come early in the morning to avoid the crowd, especially on high season.
Will I Need a Guide?
If you only want to enjoy the detail architecture, then you won't need a guide. However, if you needed or if you come in a large group, then you can join a guided tour.
How To Get There?
There are several choices of public transportation that you can use to get to Jeronimos Monastery. You can go with tram 15 and stop right outside the monastery. If you want to go by bus, buses number 714, 727, 729 and 751 stop at Belem. If you want to go by rail, use the train from Cais do Sodre and stop at Belem.