Belém!

Posted by sue on September 29th, 2007

Last weekend’s Squeeze-the-Fun-out-of-Living-in-Lisbon trip was to Belém, where there is an amazing 16th century monastery, called Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It’s an example of Manueline architecture (for Manuel I, the king at the time), which is a late Gothic style with maritime-inspired decorative elements. (As usual, click the little pictures to enlarge.)

DSCF0757.jpg There was a wedding just ending when we got there, with the bridal party and guests streaming out of the church and setting off little confetti bombs.

DSCF0771.jpgThe inside of the monastery church is really beautiful and unique-it has a lighter, more open feel that most Gothic churches. It also has lots of details that suggest ship’s rigging and exotic vegetation-very much in keeping with the spirit of the time, the age when Portuguese ships were exploring the world.

DSCF0786.jpgJust as lovely as the church is the adjoining cloister where the monks lived. This is the central courtyard, which totally has a fantastic, elven-realm kind of feel to it.

DSCF0789.jpgThis little guy (right), for instance, is just one little semi-hidden detail that blends in with all the other decorative stone work. This monastery has all kinds of little monsters and goblins amidst the more usual vegetal and symbolic decoration.

DSCF0832.jpgFinally, this is the Monument of Exploration that’s across the road from the monastery, right on the river. It represents a bunch of guys that were instrumental in Portugal’s maritime power in the 15th and 16th centuries. You can climb to the top for some nice views of the area, and inside you can view a tourist-oriented “Please Love Our City and Spend Lots of Money in Lisbon, Please, Please, Please” film, more officially known as “The Lisbon Experience.”

This weekend it’s raining, so we’re very glad we got this little trip in last week! Definitely one of the highlights of Lisbon.

25 Responses to “Belém!”

  1. Heather Says:

    Great photos! You should see if there a Lisbon Board of Tourism that wants to advertise on your blog.

  2. Cathy Says:

    How far was this form your neighborhood?

  3. sue Says:

    Alas, not right around the corner. It’s about a 20 minute bus ride away.

  4. sean Says:

    I don’t think that’s a goblin — I believe it’s Bill the Cat…

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