Belém is synonymous with Portugal’s golden Age of Discovery.

It’s from the shores of this Lisbon suburb that intrepid navigators set sail in the 15th and 16th centuries on long and perilous voyages to chart unknown waters and map new territories. One such mariner, Vasco da Gama, discovered the sea route to India in 1498 and to honor his achievement, King Manuel I commissioned a monument that became a lasting symbol of the country’s astonishing era of conquest and expansion.

Today, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is one of the country’s most cherished and revered buildings, and a “must see’ on every tourist’s agenda.

The church and monastery embody the spirit of the age, and feature some of the finest examples of Manueline architecture found anywhere in Portugal; the beautifully embellished decoration found on the South Portal is breathtaking. Inside, the beautiful cloister is equally exuberant.

Appropriately, the church houses the tomb of Vasco da Gama and other national figureheads, including Luís de Camões, Portugal’s greatest poet and chronicler of the discoveries.

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