Jerónimos Monastery

Lisbon, Portugal


Porto Cathedral

Jerónimos Monastery

A monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome, in Belém, Lisbon, Portugal. It is considered a very important example of Portuguese late Goth Manueline style of architecture. When you visit, great ready for cloisers on a grand scale.

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  • Jerónimos Monastery

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In 1496, King Manuel asked the Holly See for permission to build the moastery. The existing Hermitage of Restelo, had deteriorated. Construction started in January 15601 and was finished some 100 years later. A special 5% tax on trade between Africa and the Orient raised the equivalent to 70 kg of gold per yeare and that was used to build the structure.

The religious order of Hieronymite monks were selected to occupy the monastery, and their role was to pray for the King's eternal soul and provide spiritual assistanced to sailors who departed from the port of Restelo to travel to lands around the world. This went on unwil 1833 when the religious orders were dissolved and the monastery was abandoned.

The architectural style of the monastery is Manueline, a ornate style of complex sculptural themes with maritime elements. When the second architect took over, the type changed to the Spanish Plateresque style, also with lavish decorations, suggesting the features of silverware. All the construction came to a halt in 1521 when King Manel I died.

Construction started again where the main chapel and the second story of the monastery was worked on. However, there was another paused in 1580 with the union of Spain and Portugal and funds flowing to the construction of  Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial - a monastry and Spanish Royal Residence.

Philip of Spain who ruled over the Iberian Union, in 1604 designated the monastery a royal funerary and forbid anyone other than the royal family and the Hieronymnite monks from entering the building. Then, in 1640, with the independence of Portugal, the monastery regained its importance and it became a royal pantheon with numerous members of the royal family buried within its walls.

The monastery made it through the 1755 earthquake, title was transferred to the Pious Royal House of Lisbon to serve as a church for the parish of Santa Maria de Belém. By 1860 various reconstrution projects commenced. In 1939 the patio of the cloister was paved.

In 1983, UNESCO formally designated the Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém as a World Heritage Site. When Portugal joined the European Economic Community, the formal ceremonies were held in the cloister of the monument (1985). Cleaning and restoration for the cloisters took place between 1998 and 2002.

Each wing of the cloisters have six bays with tracery vaults.