The Jerónimos Monastery, also called as the Hieronymites Monastery, is an outstanding example of Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. Located near the Tagus River in the Belém district of Lisbon, this monastery has been classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Manuel Ist commissioned this monastery to celebrate Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a route to India by sea and had architect Diogo de Boitaca design it. Amongst other notables, the monastery is the last resting place of explorer Vasco da Gama and Portugal’s most famous poet Luis de Camoes. The Jeronimos Monastery also houses the mortal remains of poet Fernando Pessoa, playwright Almeida Garrett, writer-historian Alexandre Herculano and former presidents Teofilo Braga and Oscar Carmano! Quite a party!
I am not a great fan of religious buildings myself, they have a finite appeal to me but I felt obliged to give this spectacular looking building a closer inspection. It is as I was expecting, a megalithic tribute to Catholicism with so much gold it looks like Midas himself had paid a visit. They interior courtyard was my favourite part offering something else aside from the gold-laden statuettes of jesus and family. The two other museums housed inside also provided me with some relief from the all the glitz and glamour of this so-called house of God. Not for me necessarily, but I am sure the big man would approve!
The magnificent architecture of the Jeronimos Monastery is a major crowd puller. The western entrance to the church has tree trunk like columns that seem as though growing towards the ceiling made of stones. The windows of the church cast a golden hue over the walls. The round and wide arches with intricate carvings, two storey cloisters with embellished arches and pillars, filigree work on certain pillars, the azulejos tiles from the 18th-century in the refectory make the Belem monastery one of the best things to do in Lisbon, Portugal!
There are a great many museums and galleries for you to visit like those in this awesome Lisbon monastery. Listed below are but a few!
- Museu Coleção Berardo: You can get a dose of contemporary art by visiting this museum. This minimalist, ultra white museum is the star of the Centro Cultural de Belém.
- Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga: The National Museum of Ancient Art contains some magnificent art pieces from history. The collection includes paintings, furniture, sculpture, metalwork, textiles from the Middle Ages to the 19th-century.
- Museu Nacional do Traje e da Moda: The unique museum is located in Monteiro-Mor Palace in Lisbon. It houses over 33000 varieties of costumes from both genders worn during the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Museu da Presidência da República: Visiting this small presidential museum is a must! This place exhibits a collection of fascinating state gifts received by the Presidential house.
- Museu Nacional dos Coches: A unique museum, this building possesses close to 70 coaches in swanky and ultra-modern interiors, ranging from 17th to 19th centuries. This is one of the most visited museums in Lisbon!
- looking for more than museums, then head over to our fabulous list of fun things happening in lisbon!