Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

We were in the Belem area of Lisbon; the very purpose was to visit Jeronimos Monastery! It is the resting place of Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, linking Europe and Asia by ocean route. He accomplished his first voyage to India during 1497–1499.

Belem is Lisbon’s most monumental and historical area. It is 6kms west of Lisbon’s city centre and well connected with trams and buses. We spent one morning touring and sightseeing in this area. The experience could have been richer had we spent a whole day here. There will be more pics on this place in another post.

Jeronimos Monastery

History of Jeronimos Monastery

It was founded in 1501, which makes it 5 centuries old! Walking in to it was like walking into a different era. It is huge and as I walked in the space above and around me made me feel like a tiny little thing. Jeronimos Monastery was founded by King Manuel I. The construction was funded by successful Portuguese voyagers around the world then. This monastery was built as an expression of thanks and gratitude to Virgin Mary for Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India. The project took one whole century to complete. With changing times, different kinds of architectural styles were adopted. The monument has a unique look with mixed architectural styles.

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Interiors of Jeronimos Monastery

I can’t dismiss off the interiors by just mentioning the word “Impressive”. The word hardly justifies the grandness inside. The arch and the pillars are covered with elaborate, fine and delicate manueline work. It is so lovely inside and very peaceful. They are strict about maintaining silence inside. Photography is permitted but without flash. It is dark inside and found it a little difficult to get good captures. The ceiling is majestic with rib like structure running in beautiful patterns. The columns are incredibly done. Did they twist them like ropes, I thought! I really enjoyed seeing the details.

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Tomb of Vasco da Gama

Jeronimos monastery contains several tombs but here I have the most famous one, that of Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama has committed several atrocities in India, yet in his country he is the most celebrated explorer. If you are interested in history like me you can read more about him in this wiki link. Vasco da Gama is credited for Portugal’s success as an early colonizing power. His third voyage to India was final one. He got infected with malaria and died in Kochi, Kerala in 1524. He was buried in St. Francis Church, which was located at Fort Kochi in the city of Kochi initially. Later his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. It is said the body of Vasco da Gama was re-interred in Vidigueira in a casket decorated with gold and jewels.

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The tomb is placed at the left of entrance. It is made of marble; they carved the likeness of Vasco da Gama in a ‘praying hands’ position. The place is so crowded with tourists. We had to cooperate among ourselves so as to not enter the frame of photographers capturing the tomb.

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38 Responses

  1. sylviakirk says:

    Beautiful capture as always, Indrani!! There is so much beauty in Lisbon and I’m so glad I was able to visit there when I lived in Europe years ago!! Thank you, as always, for sharing!! Have a wonderful new week!!

  2. Kalpana says:

    These photos from inside the monastery are so soothing. Love your write up too,Indrani.

  3. It is beautiful … Thank you for sharing your travels.

  4. The ceiling is reminiscent of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, isn’t it? Your picture is too familiar. I believe I have been here too.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  5. Rajesh says:

    Very beautiful interiors of monastery.

  6. Arun says:

    The tomb looks impressive. Those pillars look beautiful.

  7. Beautiful pics, would love to visit here.

  8. Your snaps speak of this place’s beauty–worth visiting if one was the travelling kind 🙁

  9. MP UPPAL says:

    Fascinating pictures and info!

  10. Hema says:

    Very nice pics and informatory post.. 🙂

  11. Kishor Kr says:

    Lovely pictures, nicely captured. Vasco De Gama is a celebrity in India too. In school text books he is taught as “The Explorer who discovered India” as if India didn’t exist before that.
    Anyhow, nice article. Thanks for sharing.

  12. ladyfi says:

    Wow – so beautiful!

  13. magiceye says:

    Lovely images all!

  14. Damyanti says:

    Such beautiful pictures and observations. You make me want to travel again.

  15. This seems to ooze out sheer grandeur

  16. vatsala mallya says:

    Very informative and incredible post with such grand pictures of magnificent architechture of the interiors of the Monastery.

  17. Arun says:

    Beautiful pictures.. and the fact that it took a century to complete this is quite interesting!

  18. Niranjan says:

    Lovely architecture.

  19. Wonderful photos , post

  20. Bob says:

    Nice monastery, always makes it look good.

  21. Afshan says:

    Truly marvelous
    history and architecture always fascinate me too
    Great captures as always !

  22. David says:

    So enormous and yet distinctly warm and indoor-ish in its beauty

  23. Beautiful pics , architecture is wonderful

  24. Gattina says:

    Looks huge and beautiful !

  25. anu dev says:

    OMG you have taken me back to my travelling days. There are few places you cant imagine your life can give youa chance to visit but bless the bloggers for giving us such a beautiful virtual trip to these places.

    and hello to you Indrani 🙂

  26. dNambiar says:

    A 100 years? Looks like it was all worth it. Look at those interiors — so grand!!

  27. Great architecture 🙂 Loved the pictures.

  28. Hema says:

    How interesting! Vasco da Gama’s tomb! A treat for history lovers 🙂

  29. Tennyson says:

    Nice photos and details! I do wish to visit here 🙂

  30. Yogi saraswat says:

    Fascinating pictures and information Indrani ji . Vasco De gama , I think was a resident of a village of Purtgal . But as you wrote Vasco da Gama has committed several atrocities in India, yet in his country he is the most celebrated explorer. This is the symbol of their respect to their Hero .

  31. Europe is full of them.. I have pics of dozens of chappels and struggling to put a post about them

  32. Kusum says:

    WOW! That looks grand!

  33. This is great! I am a history buff, so, I would love to visit Vasco da Gama’s tomb.

  34. Hi Indrani – thank you for dropping by my blog again. Thank you too for sharing this reminder of Vasco da Gama – I’d not heard the name since school days (and that was a LONG time ago) !!

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