Discovering the Beauty Inside Jerónimos Monastery
Lisbon, Portugal, boasts several culturally important and historical monuments. Jerónimos Monastery is perhaps the most charming of them. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jerónimos Monastery, was built in the 16th century to commemorate Vasco da Gama's voyage to India. The legendary Portuguese explorer is buried inside the monastery, along with several other Portuguese greats like Dom Sebastian I, Fernando Pessoa, and Afonso de Portugal. This article introduces you to the major highlights inside the monastery.
What's Inside Jeronimos Monastery?
Jeronimos Monastery is a gold mine for understanding Portugal's culture and history.
Church of Santa Maria
The Church of Santa Maria is a major highlight inside Jeronimos Monastery. It has a stunning exterior featuring Manueline-style architecture. The church was built in the 16th century but continues to amaze visitors with its intricate stone carvings, rib vaults, and pretty stained-glass windows. The rib vaults, constructed by João de Castilho, are exceptionally unique and offer a fresh design perspective. Visitors are also amazed at the grand arches, soaring ceilings, and other elements of the Church of Santa Maria. You can explore the church as part of your visit to the Jeronimos Monastery.
Jeronimos Monastery's four-story cloisters are a sight for sore eyes! A symbol of Manueline architecture in Portugal, the cloisters are among Lisbon's greatest sightseeing treats. While Diogo de Boitaca started the cloisters' construction in the early 16th century, João de Castilho's work made the site what it is today. Surrounded by white marble columns and delicate arches, the cloisters create a relaxing experience for visitors. The other attractions in the cloister include a fountain in the shape of a lion and the tomb of Fernando Pessoa.
Monument to the Discoveries
Vasco da Gama was just one of several legendary Portuguese explorers. From Pedro Álvares Cabral to Ferdinand Magellan, the country has a history of producing great explorers who broke new ground for the country and the world. The Monument to the Discoveries, built in the 20th century, celebrates Portugal's great explorers and their contribution towards the country's rise to power. In the modern monument, visitors can learn about Portugal's history of exploration and see ancient sculptures and carvings.
Tomb of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama was legendary. The Portuguese explorer was the first European to reach India by sea and the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route. Jeronimos Monastery was built to commemorate his voyage to India, and the monastery is also his resting place. His tomb is located in the church's chancel and gives visitors a chance to learn more about his life and pay tribute to the man who placed Portugal on the world map.
The Refectory is another site you can add to your Jerónimos Monastery itinerary. It is a historic dining hill that dates back to the 16th century and was used as a dining room for monks. Beautiful stone arches, carved wooden ceilings, and azulejo panels dominate the room's interior, giving it a grand and royal feel. Visitors can explore the Refectory in its entirety and learn about the monastery and its famed residents.
Chapterhouse's construction began in the 1500s, but it was fully completed only in the 19th century. The vaulted ceiling and interior decoration were added later and are among the main attractions of the room. 16th-century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Jerome, including his study of the scriptures and journey to the desert, are equally magnetic, making visitors contemplative and dreamy.
Jeronimos Monastery is a gold mine of ancient knowledge. The Library inside the building is the perfect place to learn the philosophy and teachings of monks worldwide. Visitors will find centuries-old books and manuscripts, including a rare edition of Camões' works, one of Portugal's greatest poets. "A Place in Time", a permanent exhibition held in the Library, details the monastery's centuries-old history and importance to Portugal and the world.
Jeronimos Monastery’s South Portal is the torchbearer of Manueline architecture. The magnificent entrance boasts a 32-meter door designed by João de Castilho. It's a visual treat: carved-out ornate stoneworks, nearly 40 statues, and figurines embedded into pillars are on all sides of the door. Popular figurines include that of Henry the Navigator, St. Jerome, Our Lady of The Three Kings, the twelve apostles, and the statue of the Archangel Michael.
Additional Information About What's Inside Jeronimos Monastery
- The Upper Choir inside the Church of Santa Maria provides a fantastic view of the nave and vaulting. Designed by Diogo de Torralva in 1550, the Upper Choir was where monks would spend time chanting and praying.
- The Church of Santa Maria also has two transept chapels - the north chapel and the south chapel. They were built around 1587 by architect Jerónimo de Ruão to house tombs of the royal family.
- On the left of the main entrance to the church is the Chapel of Senhor dos Passos. Peak through the iron grill to admire the 17th-century paneled wood carvings and craftsmanship dating back to the time when the Senhor dos Passos brotherhood was founded.
Can I Go Inside Jeronimos Monastery?
Yes. You can enter Jeronimos Monastery with a ticket and explore its beautiful rooms. You can buy the tickets online or offline. The former is the better choice: online tickets can be booked months in advance and may offer discounts.
Online tickets to the Jeronimos Monastery allow you to enter the attraction without standing in line. Some online tickets to the monastery also offer access to nearby attractions like Belem Tower.
- You need tickets to enter Jeronimos Monastery. Online tickets are the better option as you can get discounts and book tickets months in advance.
- Visit the monastery early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds.
- Photography is allowed inside Jeronimos Monastery, but ensure your flash is turned off.
- Wheelchairs, ramps, and elevators are available for people with reduced mobility.
- Wear appropriate clothes to the monastery. Avoid shorts and sleeveless t-shirts.
- There's a café and a gift shop inside the monastery. You can get refreshments and buy souvenirs.
- The monastery is close to several other Lisbon attractions, including Belem Tower and Pastéis de Belém.
Book Jeronimos Monastery Tickets
Frequently Asked Questions About What's Inside Jeronimos Monastery
A. Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses chapels, cloisters, and tombs of legendary Portuguese, like Vasco da Gama.
Yes. You can take a tour inside Jeronimos Monastery with a valid ticket.
Jeronimos Monastery is spread over approximately 11,000 square meters (118,400 square feet).
The Church of Santa Maria, the Tomb of Vasco da Gama, the Cloisters, and the Monument to the Discoveries are a few must-see highlights inside Jeronimos Monastery.
Yes. You can go inside Jeronimos Monastery and admire its beautiful rooms and 16th-century frescoes.
Yes. You need a ticket to go inside Jeronimos Monastery. You can get one online or offline.
Yes. You can take pictures inside Jeronimos Monastery but avoid flash photography.
No. You need a ticket to enter Jeronimos Monastery.
Jeronimos Monastery is a worthwhile attraction because it boasts stunning Manueline architecture and important tombs of some of the greatest Portuguese.
Here are the timings to go inside Jeronimos Monastery:
May to September - Daily (except Mondays) from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, the last entry is at 5:45 PM.
October to April - Daily (except Mondays) from 10 AM to 5:30 PM, the last entry is at 4:45 PM.