In the Lisbon quarter of Belem, the vast Hieronymite Monastery, the Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos, covers an area of 300 metres. At one time, its beautiful facade was situated close to the banks of the Tejo and it is no accident that the monastery was built in this location. King Manuel The First wanted the monastery to highlight the importance of religion for the sea-faring nation of Portugal at the beginning of the 16th century.
Henry The Navigator donated the tiny Maria Chapel that was the first structure within the actual monastery area. Together with his father, King Joao The First, he led a fleet of 200 ships to victory against the North African harbor town of Cueta. Portugal was a mighty sea power. Courageous voyages of discovery led to the development of trade on newly discovered continents and along with his loyal sailors, the world famous discoverer, Vasco Da Gamma, prayed in the Maria Chapel of Henry The Navigator prior to his ocean-going adventures.
Ribbed Gothic vaults support the ceiling of the church that dates back to the 16th century. Colored glass windows create a breathtaking spectacle of light. In addition to various important members of the Portuguese royal family and numerous religious leaders, it is also the final resting place of Vasco Da Gama.
The monasteryís richly decorated facade still shines out with all the glorious luster of Portugalís courageous seamen and their remarkable voyages of discovery.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.