Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

The Age of Discovery brought about many things throughout Europe, from stories of adventures on the high seas to the knowledge of other continents and cultures across the world. This period of time in history also brought about the Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) a fixture near the shore in Lisbon, Portugal.

The monastery was erected on the site of a church where Henry the Navigator (Infante D. Henrique) had first built a church. The King Manuel I had the idea in 1459 to build a religious site that both honored Henry the Navigator and also honored the king's devotion to St. Jerome (S. Jerónimo). This monastery provided a place for Order of St. Jerome to live and pray.

There are a number of reasons that thousands of tourists flock to the site each year. One of the reasons is that the monastery is the burial site for many prominent Lisbon residents. Kings and poets are laid to rest in tombs throughout the property.

Another attraction to the Jeronimos Monastery is the architecture. The building was designed in the late-Gothic style famous throughout Portuguese buildings established in the 15th century. The exterior is very ornate and provides visitors with a wide range of details to explore. Inside, walking through the portals brings visitors to a number of different architectural styles including Renaissance, Manueline and neo-Manueline.

The courtyard garden is also an interesting attraction. It was designed in 1940 and features topiaries shaped into the municipal coats of arms that are represented in Portugal. A large fountain is the central focal point and is often lighted for evening events.

Since 1907, the building has been a national monument and a point of pride in Lisbon. It has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The Jeronimos Monastery still serves as a religious site to the local population, but the large building also houses a number of other cultural and state tourist attractions. From the main entrance, you can access the National Archaeology Museum and the Maritime Museum. Along with that, a range of events are held on the grounds of the monastery throughout the year.