The Jerónimos Monastery (Hieronymite Monastery) was declared a National Monument in 1907 and in 1983 UNESCO classified it as a "World Heritage Site".
King Manuel I had the idea of erecting a large monastery close to the site where Henry the Navigator had built a church dedicated to Santa Maria de Belém in the 15th century. With a view to perpetuating the memory of Henry and acknowledging his own great devotion to Our Lady and St. Jerome, Manuel I chose to establish the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém on a site just outside Lisbon on the banks of the River Tagus. The monastery was given to the Order of St. Jerome, which is why it was given the name of Jerónimos (or Hieronymite) Monastery.
The Monastery is a cultural reference point that has attracted artists, chroniclers and travellers in the course of its five centuries of existence. It received, and became a burial place, for kings, and later poets. Today it is admired by one and all, not only as a remarkable piece of architecture but also as integral part of Portuguese culture and identity.