Hieronymites Monastery © Kevin Poh
One of Portugal's most iconic tourist sights, the Jeronimos Monastery is an absolute must-see attraction for visitors to Lisbon. A stellar example of Manueline (or Portuguese late-Gothic) architecture, the Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, earning its place in the registry on the basis of its architectural splendour, which 'exemplifies Portuguese art at its very best'.
The construction of the Monastery was begun in 1501 at the bequest of King Manuel I - at the height of Portugal's power during the Age of Discovery - and to this day, remains a potent symbol of the historical might of Portugal, and of its important role in the development of modern history.
The Jeronimos Monastery is an absurdly photogenic building: a gleaming ivory colour, with sharp spires and intricate sculptural details and maritime motifs. The cloisters are particularly magnificent, with each column individually carved with coiled rope, sea monsters, coral and other designs that bespeak an era of nautical adventure.
Inside the Monastery, visitors can view the stone tomb of Vasco da Gama (which actually does hold his mortal remains), as well as the tombs of other notable figures from Portugal's history. An overwhelmingly beautiful sight, budget at least three hours to take it all in - and whatever you do, don't forget your camera.