A Manueline Gem in Lisbon-O Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Ornate and complex Manueline architecture


While shuttling family members back and forth to Lisbon for international flights, a 3-½ hour drive from Quinta do Tedo, I had an overnight in Portugal’s capital, an overdue opportunity to revisit different places of intriguing beauty and historic importance.

A love for detail in decorative cloister arches

Each column is different, this showing twisted strands of rope

As a lover of ornate Manueline architecture, the Monastery of Jerónimos, is exemplary!  Located near the shore of the Tejo river in Lisbon’s Belém parish, classified in 1983 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this imposing monastery calls out for a visit. Built in the late 1400s/early 1500s, as one of the 62 construction projects that King Manuel (hence the name Manueline) financed from hefty 5% taxes from the expanding spice trade with Africa and the Orient, the Jeronimos monastery reflects the glory of Portugal’s achievements during the Age of Discovery.

Invoking peace and calm

Armillary sphere – symbol of Portugal’s Age of Discovery

Manueline architecture is characterized by richly ornate architectural design, incorporating maritime elements and objects discovered during naval expeditions carved in sand-colored limestone. I arrived to the Jerónimos monastery in the late afternoon; the space of the building, the quiet ambiance typical of a religious place of prayer and the sun-drenched yet soft light make for a meditational experience. The complex Maneuline ornamentation is inspirational – how I would love to have been one of the stone carvers!

Ceiling detail 

I do hope that you will have the chance to visit the Jerónimos monastery, and remember to have a pastéis de natas (the Portuguese cream pastry dusted with cinnamon) at the famous Pastéis de Belém and to visit the Torre of Belém, another Manueline masterpiece, both close by. Portugal’s Age of Discovery landmarks are at your fingertips in lovely Lisbon.

Animal motifs or ?

Symbolic of what?

Half man/half botanical/with a hint of blowing the wind


4 Responses to “A Manueline Gem in Lisbon-O Mosteiro dos Jerónimos”

  1. Angelika says:

    Driving south to Lissabon there are so many historically important and beautiful architectures and sites to visit. And along all the trip to the south there are beaches where to stop for a refreshing swim in the Atlantic. Can’t wait to come back to the Quinta and Portugal.

  2. Eus says:

    Hi Kay,

    35 years ago i married in the Jerónimus. I still remember the garden in your first picture where some of our wedding pictures were taken. Thanks for sharing.


    • admin says:

      Dear Eus, I do not know if you received my earlier reply. Wanted to thank you for your comment and how absolutely lovely that you were married in this enchanting place. What memories that must be~

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