Church of Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

The church of Santa Maria de Belém originated from the expansion, ordered by Henry the Navigator in the 15th century, of a previous hermitage built on the site. The new church was trusted to the Order of Christ- of which Henry the Navigator was the Grand Master- to help the seamen that passed by Belém, as the hermitage had done before.
In 1501, by order of King D. Manuel I, the Monastery of the Hieronymites started being built and the small church was totally remodelled in the Manueline and Renaissance styles. It was the king's wish that the church should become a pantheon for the dynasty (Avis-Beja) started by him, and that it continued to help the travellers passing through Belém.
Like the Monastery, the church was significantly restored in the 19th century.
Inside the church are the tombs of several historical figures: Luís de Camões, one of Portugal's greatest poets who lived in the 16th century, Vasco da Gama, the first navigator to go to India by sea, King D. Sebastião, the penultimate king of the second dynasty, Cardinal D. Henrique, the great uncle of King D. Sebastião and the last king of the second dynasty, after whom Portugal lost its independence to Castille for 60 years.

Opening hours: 10h to 18h (17h from Oct. to Mar.). Closed for visits on Sunday mornings.
Entrada: Free
How to go: Tram 15 and several buses (714, 727, 728, 743, 749, 751, 773, 729)

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