Jerónimos, Monastery of

(Mosteiro do Jerónimos)
   Located at Belém, west of Lisbon, the Monastery and Cathedral of Jerônimos is the most magnificent of the Age of Discoveries monuments. Ordered built as a gift to the monastic Order of Hieronymites by King Manuel I (1469- 1521), following the return of Vasco da Gama from India in 1499, Jerónimos was constructed between 1502 and 1525. The purpose of this massive building was to commemorate the Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India. Its location, at the time of its building very close to the water, was near the Restelo beach, the departure point for da Gama's voyage.
   One of Portugal's premier tourist attractions, Jerónimos consists of a church and claustrum and a portion of the convent, partially destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The Manueline architectural style was an innovation (named for King Manuel I, who helped finance constructions from the new imperial wealth from Africa and Asia; more recently, students employ the term Atlantic Baroque), with columns, pillars, and door frames decorated elaborately with stone sculpted in the form of maritime objects such as ship ropes, coral, sea life, sailors, and seaweeds.
   Jerónimos is inland from the Monument of the Discoveries, in an open square once the main site of the 1940 Double Centenary Exposition of the Portuguese World, a kind of Lisbon world's fair.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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