Jeronimos Monastery and Manueline Designs

27 Oct

On our first day in Lisbon, we visited the Jeronimos Monastery, specifically the church section. We did not have a chance to visit the two museums that are also housed at the old monastery buildings. But the church was more than enough.

Here I was exposed to Manueline architecture, something I had not seen before, but now enjoy! King Manuel I of Portugal liked maritime designs in his buildings. So the architects, who designed for him, incorporated unique carvings like ropes, sea-life, and other maritime symbols in the structures, as well as nature items like leaves.


Not the main entrance, but when we were there a bride and groom exited here.


The surround of this window has some of the rope motif common in Manueline design.


The ceiling was fantastic.


These tall columns had many carvings of sea life/maritime symbols.


Vasco da Gama’s tomb.

People rub the hands.

The Jeronimos chapel is not filled with ornate gold and silver covered wooden structures, instead it is comprised of fantastically carved stone work that is breathtaking. The high chapel columns and arches are a tribute to the Manueline style. This structure was built in the early 16th Century during the reign of King Manuel I, who wanted to highlight the Portuguese maritime dominance and to emphasis the exploits of the explorer Vasco da Gama, who is buried here.

I think the pictures show why this style became so popular and why it became so associated with Portugal.

Belem Tower on the Tagus River.

The other Manueline structure we visited in Lisbon was the Belém Tower, which actually is located directly opposite the monastery on the banks of the Tagus River.

These two structures were built about the same time, during the reign of King Manuel I in what is now the Belém area of Lisbon. (I wrote about our visit to the tower in the blog linked below.)

Unfortunately, many of the structures built during the reign of King Manuel I were destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. This was a high Richter Scale earthquake and tsunami on the Iberian peninsula that caused major damage and changed the look of many cities in the region.

At the Pena Palace, an arch carved in Manueline style.

While in Lisbon, we spent a day in Sintra where we visited the Pena Palace. When it was built, in the late 1800s, the Pena Palace also incorporated some Manueline architecture within its quirky construction. It was fascinating to see a Moorish style building with a Manueline arch. But then this entire building is a fantastic blend of different design elements. (See link below.)

I understand that many other buildings incorporated this Manueline style in later years because of its Portuguese importance.

For me, the three structures I saw opened my mind to another form of art that I just like. I recommend anyone traveling to Portugal to learn about Manueline designs and enjoy these lovely structures.

6 Responses to “Jeronimos Monastery and Manueline Designs”

  1. JoHanna Massey October 27, 2018 at 9:13 am #

    Just a lovely photo essay. Thank you for not just the beautiful photos of an area I am unfamiliar with but your description and background on the styles. All my best to you.

    • zicharon October 27, 2018 at 9:42 am #

      Thank you. I am glad you like it. I try to explain what I am seeing because to me the history is as interesting as the photos!

  2. Amy October 27, 2018 at 11:55 am #

    These are breathtaking—I can only imagine how much more so in real life.

    • zicharon October 27, 2018 at 11:57 am #

      It is amazing. I loved Spain and Lisbon. Now I need to see more of Portugal!

      • Amy October 27, 2018 at 11:58 am #

        My cousin did a bike trip further north in Portugal after visiting Lisbon and Sintra. They loved Porto and the whole region.

      • zicharon October 27, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

        Yes. Porto is on my list. Our guide told us that we need to go inland to the area along the border with Spain as well.

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