Our recent trip to Portugal and Andalusia included visits to numerous religious sites. By far, one of the most spectacular was Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon, Portugal. Today we share we you a photo tour of this impressive site.
Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery, or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese, was the second UNESCO World Heritage site we visited in Lisbon. It is listed alongside the nearby, and equally ornate, Belem Tower.
Started in 1501, Jerónimos Monastery took 100 years to build, on the site of the former home of the Hieronymite religious order. Its ornate style and the addition of newly discovered gold made it a symbol of Portuguese wealth and development.
Its home, at the mouth of the Tagus River made the church the primary place of worship for seamen entering or leaving Lisbon.
Approaching the monastery from the Monument to the Discoveries, you pass through a beautiful formal garden, to arrive at the ornate South Portal, designed by Juan de Castilho. This magnificent door is two stories tall and includes a sculpture of Henry the Navigator among its many carvings.
Inside the church, it is impossible not to be impressed by the huge, vaulted ceilings. Two rows of columns support the ceiling. Their organic design almost resembles trees reaching into the clouds.
The monastery itself is based around a huge (55 x 55m) cloister, open to the elements. This is surrounded by two stories of ornate archways. The decorations include nautical themes, animals, plants and other symbolic motifs.
I couldn’t help but wander through the cloister with my camera shutter clicking furiously. Back in my digital darkroom it was easy to envisage romantic, fairytale scenes. Here are a couple of my favourites:
Have you been to Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon? What did you think of your visit? Do you have any other favourite monasteries we should check out? Leave your comments below.
Love castles, palaces, ruins, or buildings like in this article? Us too! Don’t miss the full listing of Castles we’ve visited in Europe and beyond.
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