Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. A few days ago they published a feature about one of Lisbon’s most important historical sights: Jerónimos Monastery in Belem.
We are the kind of travelers who enjoys historical buildings like churches & palaces. But we’re not fanatics. After more than 20 years ‘with’ Lisbon we still enjoy Jerónimos, when we pass by on our way to it’s neighbour to the west: Museu Coleção Berardo or the magnificent new neighbour to the east: Amanda Levete’s beautiful MAAT Museum. So even to us the monastery is something special.
Visit these 3 sights, climb to the top of Padrão dos Descobrimentos for pictures like the one above, and enjoy a cup of coffe and a lot of pasteis de nata at the fantastic Pasteis de Belem – then you have a fantastic day program in Belem.
Elaborately carved to showcase the glorious wealth that the age of exploration brought to the Portuguese empire.
Though it’s one of the most important buildings in Portugal today, the Jerónimos Monastery had much more humble beginnings.
In the 14th century, the small Lisbon chapel, Santa Maria de Belém, was presided over by monks of the military-religious Order of Christ. Originally built by Prince Henry the Navigator, the duty of the monks there was to assist Portuguese sailors and ships leaving port for long journeys. Seamen and crew would spend their last night in Portugal within the church, often praying for safe travel and confessing their sins to the monks there in case they did not return to land.
Read Adam T. Kincaid’s feature on Jerónimos Monastery in Atlas Obscura