The Jeronimos Monastery is one of the most impressive architectural monuments of the Portuguese capital Lisbon. The tourist attraction is in the Belem Parish. The construction of the Monastery began in 1501 during the reign of King Manuel I the Fortunate. This is the grandest monument of the 15th-century local architectural style, called Manueline, named after the Portuguese king.
However, Vasco da Gama and his companions spent the night before sailing to India in Jeronimos Monastery. The Portuguese government declared it a National Monument in 1907. The UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage in 1983.
What to See There?
The South Portal
It was built between 1516 and 1518 by Juan de Castello. The South Portal stands in the center of the Monastery facade. Although it is not the main entrance, its decor is so lavish and unique. The Portal is 32 meters high and 12 meters wide, having two floors. At the Monastery, you can see the statue of Henrique the Navigator standing on a pedestal between the two doors. You can enjoy the sight as well of the 40 sculptured figures around it. At the base of the portal are the statues of the 12 Apostles. The central figure there is the Virgin Mary (Santa Maria de Belem), who is also the patron saint of the Monastery.
The Main Portal
It is smaller and not so richly decorated than the South Portal. The Main Portal faces east and it was built in 1517. You can see above it three niches. There are groups of statues representing scenes from the birth of Christ, like the Annunciation, Christmas, and Pilgrimage of the Magi. You can see also statues of the founding monks and their respective patrons. They stand on each side of the Portal.
The Santa Maria de Belem Church
The Church has the shape of a Latin cross, composed of three naves of equal height. They have a large dome supported by six pillars. The dome is 30 meters wide. The most impressive thing about it is the lack of intermediate props. The tomb of the famous navigator Vasco da Gama is also in the Church.
The Monastery isolates its unique community from the outside world. It has two main floors. The decoration consists of religious symbols, royal images, and naturalistic elements. You can find the Archaeological Museum of Lisbon in the Geronimus District of the city.
The Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum is part of the west wing of the Monastery. It was opened in 1863 and has a total of 17,000 exhibits. They include mockups of ships in various sizes, uniforms, sailors accessories used centuries ago, etc.
What Do You Need to Know Before Visiting the Jeronimos Monastery?
- Book your ticket in advance, it is better to do it online.
- Often, the queues are too long. It may annoy you, even if you have a booked ticket.
- If you do not get your ticket in advance, you must get in the first queue for the Monastery, and then in another queue for the Church.
- The easiest way to reach it is by train, and get off on the Belem stop, which is a 10-minute walk away from the Monastery. The other option is to use the tram №15 or a tourist bus.
- If you want to avoid the big crowds, schedule your visit for the late afternoon.
- You should be properly dressed. Make sure to wear clothes, which fully cover your shoulders and legs.
- This is a holy place and you should keep silence during your visit.
- Individual ticket
- Combined ticket – allows entrance to the monastery + the National Archaeological Museum
- For students and students with a reservation
- For kindergarten kids and children up to 6th grade with reservation
- For the visually impaired
Special Discounts of 50% get:
- Visitors over 65 years of age
- Family ticket: 1 adult + minimum 2 children under 18 years
- Youth cardholders (persons under 26 years)
- Student cardholders
Free Access for:
- Children under 12 years of age.
- Journalists – allowed with advance notice, made at least 7 working days before the visit. The journalists need also an ID card for verification.
- Pupils, students, and teachers can enter with reservation only.
- People with more than 60% disability, accompanied by one assistant.
- The “Lisbon Card” holders
The Monastery and the Church are accessible to people with physical and visual disabilities.