Table of contents:
- Interesting facts about the Lisbon Monastery
- Visiting a monastery
- How to get from the center of Lisbon to Belém
- Train to Belem
- By bus
- What to see in Jeronimos Monastery
- South entrance to St. Mary's Church
Jeronimos in Lisbon is an ornate monastery located in the Belem district in the western part of the city. This grandiose religious building has historically been associated with sailors and explorers, as it was here that Vasco da Gama spent his last night before traveling to the Far East.
For visitors, this monastery is one of the most ornate churches in Portugal. The southern entrance is limited by a 32-meter stone portal, on which you can see the carvings of the faces of saints, the peaks of complex shape and other decorative elements. Inside, spindly columns support massive vaulted ceilings. Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portugal.
Interesting facts about the Lisbon Monastery
The seafarers of that era were extremely superstitious, and the importance of the church grew when they prayed with the monks in the hope of a safe return. While gold and riches beganto enter the city amid the spice trade, the money was used to finance the extravagant building work of the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.
Architect Juan de Castillo managed to develop a concept and methods that did not correspond to the usual time. Jeronimos is the only monastery of the era built around a two-tiered monastery. Its well-carved grand entrance rivals any of the classic great cathedrals.
After the initial construction of the monastery, King Manuel I chose the order of Hieronymite monks to live in the complex. They guaranteed spiritual protection to the king after his death, and then established a close spiritual connection with the sailors. The Order of the Hieronymites was dedicated to Saint Jerome, hence the name of the monastery. He was a 5th century scholar who translated the original Bible into Latin.
The original plan was to build the monastery in 8 years, but since the colony's 5% import tax brought more we alth, this time increased. The monastery was finally opened by Philip II, the Spanish ruler of the Iberian Union, in 1604, almost 100 years after the foundation was laid.
When the monastery was originally built, it was located on the banks of the Tagus River and overlooked the docks of Belem. Today, the water's edge is 300m further south than it was 500 years ago, and provides a setting for the beautiful Praça do Imperio (Place of the Empire) gardens.
Through technical designsmall columns that support the roof, the monastery withstood the devastating earthquake of 1755. Most of Lisbon's major buildings collapsed, while Jerónimos received only minor damage. The monastery was destroyed during the abolition of religious orders caused by Napoleon's long invasion, and the entire church complex, although it survived the earthquake, almost collapsed. In 1983, Jeronimos in Lisbon became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now one of the city's top tourist attractions.
Visiting a monastery
Jeronimos Lisbon's opening hours are from 10:00 to 18:00 in summer and from 10:00 to 17:00 in winter, but on Mondays the monastery is closed to the public. It is better to come here in the early morning or, conversely, in the evening, to avoid tourist groups. Entrance to the main chapel is free, while the entrance ticket to the monastery is 7 euros, and children under 14 are free. A combined entrance ticket to the monastery and Torri di Belem castle can be purchased for 13 euros. For budget travelers, Jeronimos can be visited on Sunday mornings. The monastery is located in the Belem district of Lisbon, west of the city center.
How to get from the center of Lisbon to Belém
Located about 9 km from the center of Lisbon, Belém is a coastal area home to the city's best monuments and museums.
The main attractions include not only the monastery, but also a kind of Belen tower. But there are other interestingattractions in the area and it is important to know how to get to the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.
Unlike the historic tram 28 that runs up Lisbon's steep hills, tram 15 (aka 15E, where the "E" stands for Eléctrico, "tram") runs across the flat area of the city from Da Figueira Square in Baixa to Belem and on to Alge outside the city. Usually on a modern light rail, the trip can be on an old cable car.
Tram 15 (or 15E) leaves from Plaza Da Figueira, near Rossio, stopping at Terreiro do Paco and Cais do Sodre en route to Belém. Tourists wondering how to get to Jerónimos in Lisbon can take the tram to Alges (Jardim), which runs regularly (every 10-15 minutes). The drive from Da Figueira Square to Belém takes about 25 minutes. You need to get off at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos or after 2 stops at Largo da Princesa, closer to the Belen Tower, and then walk 5 minutes to the Tagus River.
You can use a Viva Viagem card or buy a ticket on the tram, but it will cost more.
And as usual in crowded transport, you need to watch your belongings to avoid pickpockets both on tram 15 and in the queues at any of the main stops - Praça da Figueira, Terreiro do Paço (Praça do Comércio) and Cais do Sodré.
Train to Belem
The commuter train to Cascais is another option for getting to Jerónimos. You can sit ontrain from Cais do Sodré station to Belém station, which is three stops away.
Belen Station is halfway between MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) and the Museum of Buses. Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon is less than 10 minutes' walk away. The Viva Viagem card can also be used when traveling on the Cascais train.
Trip by bus is the third option to get to Belém. If you choose the Yellow Bus service, you can go on a tour of the Tahoe, which starts from Dagueira Square, and visit several tourist sites, including Belém.
An alternative is the Red Bus, which departs from Marquês de Pombal Square. He also visits the sights of Belen, namely the Electricity Museum, the Discovery Monument, Belen Tower, Belen Monastery and Palace.
What to see in Jeronimos Monastery
Built in the late 1400s, the monastery is a fine example of the Manueline style of architecture inspired by discovery. When visiting the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, you can take advantage of tips on what to see there to enjoy your visit to the best of your ability.
Grave of Vasco da Gama
When visiting the Jeronimos Monastery, it is worth seeing the tomb of Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama is a world famous navigator who played a very important role in history during the period of discovery. He opened the sea route from Lisbon to India. After that, the Portuguese were able for centuries to have a monopoly on the trade in spices and materials in Europe. his gravelocated in the monastery, in the church of St. Mary.
Symbols of Discoveries
A visit to a monastery is a search for symbols of discovery. The entire monument was built in the Manueline style, directly related to the Age of Discovery: from the ropes of ships to algae, floating spheres, rope knots, armillary spheres. These symbols show in abundance the strength and knowledge of the Portuguese sailors and the Portuguese Empire.
Poets, writers and presidents
At the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, tourists will find several important figures of Portuguese history whose remains were transferred to the monastery: Presidents Teófilo Braga and Oscar Carmona, as well as screenwriter Almeida Garrett and contemporary poet Fernando Pessoa. In the church you can find Luis de Camões, a 16th-century poet who immortalized the Age of Discovery and the bravery of the Portuguese in his poem Os Lusíadas.
South entrance to St. Mary's Church
It's also worth taking a moment to appreciate the southern entrance to St. Mary's Church. Visitors will be in awe of the amazing detailing and fine workmanship on this door. Full of Manueline nautical motifs and statues of Saint Jerome and the Virgin Mary of Bethlehem, these are the monastery's most beautiful portals.
Constructed between 1516 and 1518 by João de Castillo and his working group, designed by Diogo de Boitaki, the South Portal is the visual centerpiece of the monastery's façade facing the Tagus River. However, despite its luxurious details, it is only a side entrance. The central figure onThe portal is Our Lady of Bethlehem (Belém in Portuguese) with the Child. The church and the monastery are dedicated to the Mother of God. She holds in her hand a cup with gifts from the Magi. The Virgin is surrounded by many statues representing prophets, apostles, church leaders and some saints. The tympanum depicts two scenes from the life of Saint Jerome. In the bosom between these scenes is the coat of arms of Manuel I. Still lower, between the two doors of the church, is a statue depicting Henry the Navigator as a knight in armor, a tribute to this predecessor of Manuel I, who founded the Restelo Chapel and was the driving force behind the discoveries of Portugal. Dominant in the whole composition is the statue of the Archangel Michael at the very top.