A masterpiece ... out of town
The charm of this building is hard to resist. Perhaps it is due to its enormous dimensions, or maybe because of the lacy, extremely intricate architectural style.
Imagine the richly ornamented baroque style, and then enrich it with more decorations. Here, a lot of nautical elements (ropes, seaweed, sea animals) were added and thus a variation of the baroque characteristic of Portugal was created, called the Manueline. Everything is dripping with sculptures, details and details. There are so many decorations that the building looks almost like one large, stunningly precisely made sculpture.
Incredible! ... but then the question arises: why was such a beautiful and representative sacred building built outside the city?
After all, even now, when Lisbon is an incomparably larger city, the monastery is still practically outside of it. From the center of Lisbon by tram it takes more than 30 minutes! The construction site, of course, is not accidental.
The hermitage of Restelo
Restelo is a part of the Belem district, where the Hieronymites Monastery is located. Once Restelo was a small village, but with the development of sailing and great geographical discoveries, everything has changed. Sailors noticed that this fragment of the coastline near Restelo at the mouth of the Tagus River into the Atlantic Ocean creates a natural, quiet and safe bay. The site immediately acquired the function of a mooring and the best point of disembarkation. A natural harbor was established here and then quickly developed. During the great discoveries, it was from here that the expeditions of the greatest explorers set off. One of them was Vasco da Gama.
On the night (1497), before embarking on one of the most important expeditions in the history of the world, he gathered his people in a chapel on the coast, known as the Restelo Hermitage. They spent the whole night praying there.
As it turned out later, the expedition was a huge success. A sea route to India was discovered, and the discovery had a significant impact on the fate of the world and Portugal.
A royal thanksgiving
Portugal, using the route discovered by Vasco da Gama, conducted an extremely lucrative spice trade, building its power on the profits derived from it. The proceeds from trade were so impressive that King Manuel I the Happy (the name of the Manueline style comes from his name) decided to build a monastery worthy of this discovery as a thanksgiving for a successful expedition. The hermitage of Restelo (then it was almost in ruins), in which Vasco da Gama and the crew prayed before departure, was demolished and in its place the Monastery of the Hieronymites was built.
Perhaps you are wondering what happened to the monastery during the earthquake in 1755 that devastated Lisbon? The answer is simple and surprising: nothing! During the cataclysm he did not suffer at all 🙂
The monastery has been on the UNESCO list since 1983.
A new hermitage in Restelo was built elsewhere near the convent and still stands here today.
While visiting the Hieronymites Monastery, you may come across several tombs. He rests in one of them Vasco da Gamaand in the following King Manuel I. and his wife Maria of Aragon.
Tomb of one of the greatest Portuguese writers Luis de Camões it is only symbolic because he died a pauper, probably buried in a mass grave.
Tickets to the Hieronymites Monastery
The monastery is a key and must-see for every trip visiting Lisbon. There will be a line during the season, but it shouldn't be a tragedy in the off-season.
Tickets can be purchased in advance via the Internet and thus avoid queuing.
Check it out: entry tickets to the Hieronymites Monastery - [click]
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] you have it Free admission to the Hieronymites Monastery
Hieronymites Monastery, GPS coordinates:
38.697569, -9.205566 - click and route
Tuesday to Sunday open from 9am to 30pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Ticket offices open from 9:30 to 17:00.
Last admission at 17:30 at the latest.
- EUR 10 (2022) per person
- children under 12 free admission
Lisbon sightseeing itineraryThis post is part of a very detailed Lisbon sightseeing itinerary that I have developed. The plan is available for free and you can see it on the website: Lisbon sightseeing plan - map, attractions, monuments, tickets, accommodation, interesting facts
Accommodation in Lisbon
To facilitate the search for accommodation, I will present here some interesting (in my opinion) proposals from the historic center of Lisbon (near Barrio Alto). Don't consider them "just the best". They are an interesting proposition and can be a good choice or a good starting point for further research. Clicking on any of these hotels will take you to the offer details and (perhaps even more importantly) will display a list of similar offers. Thanks to this, you will immediately gain access to a list of interesting accommodation, which you can then filter and view according to your preferences.
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