St. Jerome Monastery, cloister, Lisbon, Portugal
The St. Jerome Monastery is located within the city of Lisbon, Portugal. This unused long size postcard, sent by my son and his wife, has a photo by Nuno Antunes showing a view of the cloister. The monastery and the nearby Tower of Belém have both been a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983. The monastery features examples of Manueline architecture. It is a major historical building in Lisbon. The Tower of Belém on the bank of the Tagus River was built partly to protect the monastery. The monastery has two floors with a vaulted design in a quadrangular layout containing religious and royal symbols.
The construction of St. Jerome’s began in 1501 and took 100 years to complete. King Manuel I (1469-1521) originally funded the project with a 5% tax on selected commerce from Africa and the Orient. The tax collected equaled about 150 lbs or 70 kilos of gold per year. With such a sum of guaranteed funds architects were not limited to small-scale plans. The King selected Hieronymite monks to serve in the monastery. Their purpose was to pray for the King’s eternal soul and provide spiritual assistance to navigators and sailors who left from the nearby port as explorers of the world. The monks did this service for more than 400 years until 1833 when their religious order was dissolved and the monastery abandoned.
As suggested by the use of a long card the cloister is vast at 180 x 180 ft or 55 X 55 m. Each wing has six bays with tracery vaults. The second level is recessed. There are four inner bays resting on massive buttresses that form broad arcades. The decorated cloister seen on the card has nautical elements and European, Moorish, and Eastern motifs.
The monastery has been restored and renovated several times. Today the Maritime Museum and the National Archaeology Museum are both found within. Portions of the buildings that make up the monastery as well as both museums are open to the public.
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Postcard Thursday is taking the next two weeks off. See you in November!