Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Portugal and a prime example of Manueline architecture. Sitting opposite the Discoveries Monument, it is one of Lisbon’s ‘must see’ attractions regardless of spiritual persuasion. In 1983, the monastery was given the classification of a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Commissioned by King Manuel 1st, the building began construction on the 6th January 1501. Originally the site was home to the Hieronymite religious order and to monks who aided visiting pilgrims. The chapel that existed there was dedicated to Santa Maria de Belém. The small beach of praia do restelo provided a safe harbour for tall ships sailing along the river. It was in the hermitage of the old building that Vasco de Gama and his shipmates stayed the night before setting out on their first voyage. It is here too that the remains of Vasco de Gama are interred along with other famous figures from Portuguese history.