A masterpiece of Manueline architecture, the Monastery’s flamboyant decoration includes detailed sculptures of maritime symbols and motifs. The build was ordered by Manuel I (1495-1521) to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s successful return from India. It replaced Ermida do Restelo (a hermitage that was previously founded by Henry the Navigator) and was funded by treasure accumulated from Lisbon’s overseas explorations and high taxes earned by the Portuguese-controlled spice trade.
The monastery was occupied by the Order of Saint Jerome (the Hieronymites, who provided spiritual guidance to the seafarers) until 1833. Today, it accommodates the tombs of Vasco da Gama, and Luís de Camões, Portugal’s national poet ,within its exquisitely carved and gilted interiors.