Dragon sculpture in the cloister of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Hieronymites Monastery), Belém, Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal.
The Hieronymites Monastery (official name: Mosteiro da Santa Maria de Belém), located near the shore of Rio Tejo (Tagus river), is one of the most prominent monuments of the Manueline style architecture. Along with the predominant Manueline style, there are also elements of the Spanish Plateresque style, and of Renaissance style.
The monastery was built by order of Manuel I. shortly after Vasco da Gama had returned from his first journey to India. The building was financed with the money now rolling in from the overseas trade. Work began in 1502 and ended in 1544 (except for some extensions that were added later).
Up to 1834, the monastery gave home to the order of the Hieronymites (that’s where it’s got its name from). The building survived the great earthquake of 1755 without larger damage, but was ravaged by Napoleon’s troops in the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1983, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos was – together with the nearby Torre de Belém (Bélem tower) – inscribed on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.
On December 13, 2007, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed at the monastery, laying down the basis for the Reform of the European Union.