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The Igreja de Jesus and Mosteiro de Jesus, Setubal

The Igreja de Jesus church is the most important religious building in Setubal. From the exterior it appears as a hotchpotch of different design styles but inside it is a decorative beauty, which is the first earliest of the Manueline style of architectural in Portugal.

The church and attached monastery (Mosteiro de Jesus) were the precursor to the magnificent Monasterio de Jerónimos in Lisbon, being designed by the same architect, Diogo de Boitaca. The 16th century church is attached to the Museu de Jesus, an art museum that displays works from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The shame with the church as a tourist attraction is the concrete plaza that is in front of the church. This drab plaza is grey, covered in graffiti and has few redeeming qualities.

Igreja de Jesus church setubal

The exterior of the Igreja de Jesus incorporates gothic and Manueline styles

Mosteiro de Jesus Tourist Information

The Mosteiro de Jesus is open from 9:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00 Tuesday to Sunday but shut on Monday. The church is located on the Largo Jesus (GPS: 38.52591, -8.894786) and is just a 5-minute walk from the Praça de Bocage.

Igreja de Jesus church setubal

The main portal’s decoration influenced many other Manueline buildings, but was never completed!

Further information about the Mosteiro de Jesus

The church was commission by King John II and construction was between 1490 and 1495. The exterior is unlike many other churches in Portugal as there is no spire or tower and is a combination of yellow lime mortar with stone block work to the eastern end. The most distinctive features of the exterior are the large Manueline style windows and the main southern facing portal. This is interesting as it was never competed and there are with empty niches, where statues where to be placed.

Inside the church attached to the Mosteiro de Jesus the styling and atmosphere is completely different from the bland and semi dilapidated exterior. The church is surprisingly narrow with a decorative alter covered in green and white painted tiles. The columns that support the roof of the church are distinctive as they are formed of twisted granite while the pulpit and alter date from the 18th century.

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