Included in the Jeronimos Monastery is the Santa Maria Church. This incredible building is massive in scale and includes the spectacular detail of the late gothic manueline-style monastery.
The first thing visitors see when entering the church is this crucifix as they gaze down toward the alter.
If anyone takes the time to check out the columns near the crucifix they are in for a treat. These detailed carvings are as unique as those in Scotland's Roslyn Chapel.
Moving into the lower level of the church the sheer size of the church becomes evident.
This chancel was ordered by Queen Catherine of Austria and is the resting place of the royal family. Their tombs are supported by elephants.
Moving left of the main alter are these impressive dedications. Sadly, I have no idea to whom or what. My apologies!
The stained glass windows were sparse, but exquisitely detailed and provide much needed splashes of colour.
Looking skyward, the arched ceiling detail is gothic yet so much more.
I believe this is the actual exit to the side portal show above at the beginning of the Jeronimos Monastery post.
I doubt we've ever seen so much gold leaf, except perhaps for the interior of Quito, Ecuador's main square church. In both locations the dazzling sparkle of these shrines makes me cringe if only because I've witnessed the abject poverty of the locals barely eking out an existence a few yards from these alters.
The highlight of the Santa Maria Church (at least for me) was this memorial to explorer Vasco da Gama. His remains are housed in this church and while he was quite the explorer, I found it exciting that his travels and mine should one day intersect - if only because I recall studying him in public school and his name sounded so musical VAS. GO. DA. GA. MA. And here he is...the man and explorer himself...
His stone casket pays homage to his discoveries and adventures.
The ornate coffin carvings are a suitable and respectable resting place for the European who 'discovered' the Orient.
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