The church of Santa Maria de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, are the finest examples of Portuguese Gothic Manueline style. Although carrying similar architectural styles, in our modern world now, the church and the monastery have quite a contrasting experience.
Church of Santa Maria style
We visited the Jerónimos Monastery and the Church of Santa Maria de Belém in one morning. Therefore we have wake up before sunrise to capture Lisbon. We were very optimistic to be the very first tourists to visit the monastery. But to our surprise, an hour before the gates opened, there were many tourists.
Above all, the site attracted so many people. The “Mosteiro dos Jerónimos” came to be a unique marvel with all the alleys and columns in Manueline style. The spacious halls were once homes to monks. After leaving the vivid corridors, we felt an urge to remain in a calm environment for just a moment. Therefore, we directed our steps towards the Church of Santa Maria de Belém. Situated opposite the monastery.
As we walked inside, the silence almost hit us.
Meanwhile, the Santa Maria church wasn’t open to visitors. But, the guards allowed us to enter it, under the condition that Nico would turn off the flash and sound from the shutter of his camera. When we approached the altar, there were only a few prayers sitting in the front benches, so we tried to stay still as much as possible not to distract them.
This Church, Santa Maria de Belém, is known because of the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões. However, what immediately grabbed our attention was mainly the celling. The pillars of the church were “growing” into it and very much like a tree. The bonds of the roof reminded us, as well the patterns of the veins, of a leaf.
In conclusion, in this place, we found peace and left happy.