Walk in Lisbon - Belém - Part 2.

JUL 17,2014 - JUL 17,2014 (1 DAYS)

Museums

Part 2: Belém - Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), Museu Nacional dos Coches (Carriages museum). Other attractions of Belém - see Part 1:

Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) - located along the Praça do Império (Empire Square), across from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), it was originally built to support pilgrims who travelled in the region by Henry the Navigator; expanded and elaborated from 1501 by architects for King Manuel I of Portugal to serve as a resting-place for members of the House of Aviz; and as a church for seafearing adventurers who embarked during the Age of Discovery, after Vasco da Gama's successful voyage to India. Construction was funded by a tax on eastern spices, and over time came to represent Portuguese historical discoveries, becoming over time a national monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site (from 1983), housing (in addition to the religious art and furniture from its past) artefacts and exhibitions like the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (National Archaeological Museum) and the Museu da Marinha (Maritime Museum) within its walls. The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. This majestic monastery is a great showcase of Portugal’s splendor during the age of discoveries. Built in 1502 in the late Gothic style Portuguese-exclusive “Manueline” style.

In 1496, King Manuel I (1495–1521) asked the pope for permission to build a great monastery in thanks to the Virgin Mary for Vasco de Gama's successful voyage to India. The request was granted and construction began on the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos on January 6, 1501. The project was funded by treasures from explorations in Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as a stiff tax on the Portuguese-controlled spice trade with Africa and the East. The king hired French architect Diogo de Boitaca (1460-1528; master of the pioneering Igreja de Jesus in Setúbal), who was later succeeded by João de Castilho (1475-1552) of Spain, Diogo de Torralva (c.1500-1566), and Jerónimo de Ruão (1530-1601). The site Manuel chose for the new monastery was on the banks of the Tagus river, replacing a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Belém by Henry the Navigator. King Manuel I named his new foundation the Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Belém and invited the Order of St. Jerome (Hieronymites, or dos Jerónimos) to occupy it. The powerful Hieronymites were known for their contemplative spirituality and productive intellectual output; they also shared the king's political views. The Hieronymites monk were expected to celebrate daily mass for the souls of Prince Henry the Navigator, King Manuel I and his successors in perpetuity, in addition to hearing confessions and providing spiritual counsel to seamen and navigators who sailed from Belém. As for the monastery, it would be not only a thank-offering to the Virgin Mary but a lasting monument to the Age of Discovery and the mausoleum of King Manuel I and his successors. The project was completed around 1600, by which time Renaissance and Baroque elements were incorporated into the design. The 1755 earthquake damaged the monastery but thankfully did not destroy it. Many restoration projects have been undertaken since then, some executed better than others. The Hieronymites occupied the monastery for 400 years until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1833, when the building became state property. It was used as a college for the Casa Pia of Lisbon (a children's charity) until around 1940.

it is in my opinion one of the most wonderful structures in Portugal. Here, Vasco da Gama spent his late night in prayer before his successful journey to India. Vasco de Gama’s tomb is at the front entrance and so is the tomb or a famous Portuguese poet, Luis de Camoes. The stone works inside the monastery and the (Santa Maria de Belem) church are incredible. It's amazing to think how many stone masons must have been engaged. The beauty of this couple of sites is magnificent. Pictures don't do it justice. You must see it in person. The internal court of the monastery is very beautiful with its delicate carving on the columns and the refectory excels with pictures on the tiles of the wall. You can spend, easily, about 2-3 hours wandering around their grounds. Queue is very long in the late morning hours ! This itinerary is planned that you'll hit the monastery around 14.00-15.30/16.00. After 10.00 the site is flooded with tourist coaches. Keep in mind that groups have priority in entrance over individuals or families. After 10.00 expect to queue-up, at least, one hour...

Opening hours: October to May From 10.00 to 17.30 (last admission at 17.00), May to September From 10.00 to 18.30 (last admission at 18.00). Closed: Mondays and 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December. Individual ticket: €10, seniors: €5.

Combined tickets:

■Descobertas: Jerónimos Monastery /Tower of Belém: €12
■Jeronimos: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: 12 €
■Praça do Império: Jerónimos Monastery +Tower of Belém + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: €16
■ Cais da História: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Torre de Belém + Museu Naciona de Arqueologia + Museu de Arte Popular + Museu Nacional de Etnologia + Museu dos Coches: 25 €

Special discounts:

■Visitors aged 65 and older (proof of age must be shown): 50% discount
■Family ticket: 4 members or more (parents + kids): 50% discount
■"Youth Card": 50% discount
■Student Card: 50% discount

Free admission:

■1st Sunday each month.
■Children up to the age of 12
■Members of APOM/ICOM and ICOMOS,
■Researchers, journalists, tour guides and other tourist information professionals when visiting for Professional reasons and duly identified (the visit must be booked in advance)
■Teachers and students of any education level in the context of study visits, provided they are booked in advance and there is documental proof of their status (personal letter) and the context of the visit (a document issued by the respective education institution)
■Members of the "Friends of the Monuments" and "Friends of the Castles" associations
■DGPC employees, duly identified
■Holders of the pre-purchased Lisboa Card (purchased online via www.askmelisboa.com or at ATL tourist information offices).

External entrance: The main entrance to the monastic church is the south portal, designed by João de Castilho. Occupying the central pillar is a statue of Henry the Navigator. Inside, fragile-looking pillars covered with sculpture support a complex web of lierne vaulting over three aisles. Much of the artwork depicts scenes of St. Jerome, translator of the Vulgate and patron of the Hieronymite order:

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Monastery of Jeronimos - internal court / Cloister: Essentially serving the purpose of isolation for the monastic community, the Cloister was an agreeable and serene place for prayer, meditation and leisure for the monks of the Hieronymite Order. Designed by Diogo de Boitaca, who commenced the work in the early 16th century, it was continued by João de Castilho from 1517 onwards and completed by Diogo de Torralva in 1540-1541. Due to its significance and symbolism, the Cloister is today one of the most important examples of Manueline architecture. With two storeys, vaulted ceilings and quadrangular layout, its decoration showcases the originality of this style by combining religious symbols (images from the Passion, amongst others), royal imagery (the Cross of the Order of Christ, the armillary sphere, the royal coat of arms) and naturalist elements (ropes and plant-inspired motifs that cohabit with late Mediaeval imagery of fantastic animals). In the north wing of the lower cloister is the tomb of Fernando Pessoa, created by Lagoa Henriques in 1985:

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Monastery of Jeronimos - Refectory. The refectory was built in 1517/18 by Leonardo Vaz and his team of master builders. With its multi-ribbed and low vaulted ceiling it exemplifies the most widespread taste of the Manueline period Below the thick stone ropes, the walls are covered with azulejo tile panels dating from 1780-1785. The panels depict the Miracle of the Bread and Fish in the New Testament (north end) and scenes from the life of Joseph in Egypt from the Old Testament (side walls).
On the wall facing the windows there was a small wooden pulpit for the reading of the Holy Scripture and from the Lives of the Saints during meals. On the north side is a 17th century painting representing St. Jerome, which is attributed to the court painter Avelar Rebelo. At the southern end, over the heating chimney, one can see an oil mural, "Adoration of the Shepherds", attributed to António Campelo (late 16th century), which was restored in 1992.

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The view of the inside of Santa Maria de Belem church - from 2nd floor accessed from Monastery is impressive:

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View of the cloister / internal court from the Monastery's 2nd floor:

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Picture of king Joao II:

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Picture of king Sebastio:

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Picture of king Jose I:

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National Coach Museum, Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, opposite the Belem Tram stop. Lovely coaches commemorating 300 years of the coach builders craft. The museum has one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. The museum is housed in the old Horse Riding Arena of the Belém Palace, formerly a Royal Palace which is now the official residence of the President of Portugal. The Horse Riding Area was built after 1787 following the Neoclassical design of Italian architect Giacomo Azzolini. Several Portuguese artists decorated the interior of the building with paintings and tiles (Azulejos) panels. The museum was created in 1905 by Queen Amélia to house an extensive collection of carriages belonging to the Portuguese royal family and nobility. The collection gives a full picture of the development of carriages from the late 16th through the 19th centuries, with carriages made in Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria and England. Among its rarest items is a late 16th/early 17th-century traveling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal to come from Spain to Portugal in 1619. There are also several pompous Baroque 18th century carriages decorated with paintings and exuberant gilt woodwork, the most impressive of these being a ceremonial coach given by Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715, and the three coaches of the Portuguese ambassador to Pope Clement XI, built in Rome in 1716. Flamboyant pieces representing the pomposity of royalty & religion. The enormous size and lavish detail of some of the coaches is amazing. Good information signage in English.

It is basically a huge display of royal carriages dating back to the 17th century. They are organized chronologically - oldest and shabbiest first. You can see this museum in about an hour and it is well worth it.

Transport:
Tram: 15.

Bus: 28, 714, 727, 729, 743, 749, 751.

Train: Cascais Line (Belém Station).
Boat: Belém boat station.

Opening hours: 10.00 - 18.00 (Tuesday - Sunday), Last entry: 17.30.
Closed: Mondays, January 1st, May 1st, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day.

Admission fees:

Normal: 6,00€
+ 65 years : 3€
Youth-Card holders: 3€

Family ticket:

- 50% discount for children (15-18 years) when accompanied by a parent.

Free entrance:

- Sundays and Bank Holidays until 14.00.

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Portugal

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