Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Rua dos Jerónimos 3. (Open Map)


The Hieronymites Monastery

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is the masterpiece of the Manueline style that is the Portuguese twist to late Gothic. Construction of the church and cloisters for the Hieronymite religious order began in 1502 on the orders of Dom Manuel I, in thanks for the divine favour bestowed through the Discoveries.

The site had previously housed a chapel dedicated 50 years earlier by Prince Henry the Navigator. The monastery was to commemorate Portugal's maritime prowess, and master architect Diogo de Boytac set to work. The west-facing entrance to the church is now obscured by the 19th-century extension housing the Museu Arqueológia, but the sculptural relief of the south lateral entrance still captivates visitors. The hierarchic pile of stonework saints is topped by the image of St Mary of Bethlehem (Belém), patron saint of church and monastery. Immediately inside the church are the stone tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões. Jerónimos is famed for the almost mystic quality of light that sweeps into the nave during the day: a visit during a choir performance is enough to make the wicked long for redemption. The exquisite cloisters, designed by Boytac and completed by João de Castilho, are often the setting for concerts , and other events. Boytac is also thought to have overseen the construction in 1514 of a pretty hermitage uphill, the Capela de São Jerónimo, guided visits to which (Wed only) can be booked at the monastery