The Monastery is an impressive example of the Manueline style of architecture-a transitional mode from Late Gothic to the Renaissance period. It’s limestone is ornately carved and features abundant maritime motifs in line with its former dedication to the church’s support of the fisherman, sailors, and explorers of Portugal.
Founded to celebrate the voyage to India byVasco de Gama, monks of the Order of St. Jerome were tasked with bringing aid and comfort to sailors (and to pray for the soul of the king). De Gama is buried here–as well as famous poets and royals, including Manual I, the king who commissioned the monastery. The Church continues to hold services, although the Order of St. Jerome was dissolved.
The entire monastery is a wealth of carving representative of the time periods in which the original building and later additions were made. Particularly in evidence are maritime imagery, classic Gothic gargoyles, nature elements, and fantastic structural carvings. Arguably one of the most beautiful and impressive churches in the world.