A symbol of the building of the modern world
Related article: EU leaders sign The Lisbon Treaty (The New EU Constitution)
Regarded as the pre-eminent symbol of Portugal's history as a powerhouse of European exploration, Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery is a fitting location for the signing of the EU reform treaty.
The magnificent complex was started in 1502 by King Manuel I to commemorate Vasco da Gama's voyage as commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.
Located at the entrance to the port of Lisbon, the monastery was built on the site of an earlier hermitage where the monks of the Order of Christ, a Portuguese successor to the Knights Templar, gave succour to passing sailors.
That hermitage, the Ermida do Restelo, had been founded by Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince who lived from 1394-1460.
Henry the Navigator
He was a noted patron of voyages of discovery along the western coast of Africa and the Madeira islands.
Opening up trade routes
Until Prince Henry's time, the most southerly point known by European sailors was Cape Bojador, a treacherous reef-surrounded headland on the western Sahara coast, in present day Morocco.
For generations, Spanish and Portuguese sea-lore had maintained that Africa was unnavigable past this point.
But eager to bypass the Muslim territories of north Africa and open up trade routes to the south, Prince Henry funded 15 expeditions to conquer the Cape before Captain Gil Eanes finally succeeded in 1434.
It was in Prince Henry's hermitage that da Gama and his crew spent their last night in Portugal in prayer before setting sail for India in 1497.
The monastery is a masterpiece of Manueline design
Upon their return two years later, King Manuel I commissioned the construction of a new monastery to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for da Gama's success.
The work was funded by a tax on eastern spices, with the exceptions of pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
Thanks to da Gama's passage to India the spices were in plentiful supply, allowing the architects to build a European Gothic masterpiece, regarded as the jewel of Manueline design.
King Manuel chose the monks of Order of St Jerome (Hieronymus monks) to occupy the Monastery.
Like their predecessors from the Order of Christ, the Hieronymus monks continued to provide spiritual guidance to the sailors passing through Lisbon throughout the Age of Discovery - the great period of European exploration from the 15th to 17th Centuries.
By the 16th Century these Portuguese sailors had helped build a huge empire embracing Brazil as well as swathes of Africa and Asia.
There are still some 200 million Portuguese speakers around the world today.
Foundations of our world
The monastery's connection to the sea is richly illustrated on the columns in the cloisters which are carved with coral, sea monsters and coils of rope.
Many great figures from Portuguese history are buried in the monastery, including its founder King Manuel and da Gama himself.
The monks remained in the monastery until 1833 when religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, at which point the building became owned by the state.
Declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1984, it is described by the UN cultural agency as a "reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world".
Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7141972.stm
Jerónimos Monastery Images
The Jeronimos Monastery Photo Gallery
European Parliament in Strasbourg - A Modern Tower of Babel
EU leaders sign The Lisbon Treaty (The New EU Constitution)
Battling the European Union - Action Now (Video)
Latest News from our Front Page
The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to argue over whether America should be welcoming Syrian refugees.
If you have any liberal relatives or friends coming over for your Thursday feast, theyâ€™re going to relish the chance to tell everyone that the Pilgrims were refugees too â€” and hope that statement decimates all ...
ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.
A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today.
It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men
A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15.
The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material:
No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed!
Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.
Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
|More News » |