Commissioned by King Manuel I in 1505, the monastery was built in the Belém district on the site of an old chapel where, in 1497, Vasco da Gama said his prayers before leaving on his long voyage.
The building took nearly a century to complete. A shrine for explorers, the monastery is full of maritime motifs rope wrapped around the columns and innumerable aquatic monsters recalling the period when Portugal ruled the oceans. The cloister, with its exceptional sculptures, is a favourite among visitors. The lower floor, built by Diogo de Boitaca, is an exuberant mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The top floor is the work of Juan de Castillo. Having miraculously survived the 1755 earthquake, the monastery is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the visit, head over to the Belém Tower, just a short walk away.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Praça do Império