Today we travel through the city of Lisbon. Lisbon hosts astounding cultural buildings. Our tour guides share of the history of the buildings from each century and how people used the monuments.
Belém Tower or the Tower of St Vincent is our first stop this morning. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. King John II ordered the tower to be built as a defense system at Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. The tower was built in the early 16th century from limestone. As the construction of the tower progressed, a ship called the Grande Nau guarded the mouth of the Tagus river until the fort’s completion. Later on, the dungeons of the tower served as a prison until 1830. On July 7, 2007, the Belém Tower was added to the registry of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. As we stand in the large grassy area in front of the tower, Leigh lovingly calls in the Light and blesses the area.
The Jerónimos Monastery also called the Hieronymites is a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome. The monastery is an excellent example of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jerónimos Monastery replaced the former church formerly existing in the same place, dedicated to Santa Maria de Belém. The construction of the monastery and church began in 1501 and completed 100 years later. King Manuel funded the project with money obtained from a 5 percent tax on commerce from Africa and the Orient. Manuel 1, chose the Hieronymite monks to occupy the monastery and to pray for the King’s eternal soul while providing spiritual assistance to navigators and sailors. The monks did this until 1833 when the religious orders were dissolved and the monastery abandoned.
In 1604, Philip of Spain made the monastery a royal monument, prohibiting anyone but the royal family and the Hieronymite monks from entering the building. The monastery became the burial place for the royals of four of the eight children of John IV of Portugal.
After a delicious lunch, we head into the city of Lisbon to the Igreja de São Domingos church which is now a National Monument. The church at one time was the largest church in Lisbon. The church typically hosted Portuguese royal weddings. Formerly, it was the home of the Inquisition where Jesuit missionary Gabriel Malagrida was famously executed in 1761 after being accused of treason. The church was damaged by the Lisbon earthquake and almost destroyed. Rebuilding completed around 1807. Then again, in 1959 the church was devastated when a fire broke out in the building. The fire killed two firefighters and took six hours to extinguish and completely gutted the church, destroying many paintings and statues. In 1994 the church reopened, and the restoration included many signs of the fire.
Outside the front of the church is the memorial called the 1506 massacre of Lisbon. The text reads,”Em memoria dos milhares de judeus vitimas da intolerancia e do fanatismo religioso assassinados no massacre iniciado a 19 de abril de 1506 neste largo.” In English, the translation is, “In memory of the thousands of Jews who were the victims of intolerance and religious fanaticism and murdered in the massacre initiated on April 19, 1506, in this square.”
After the expulsion of Jews and Muslims in 1492 from Spain and Portugal, people continued to be suspect especially in 1506, after months of a long plague. A group of upset people swore vengeance when a new Christian was dragged from the church and killed by an infuriated woman. Then, followed by Friar João Mocho and the Aragonese friar Bernardo, crucifix in hand, were said to go through the streets of the city, crying “Heresy!” which attracted sailors from Holland, and other ships in the port of Lisbon, to form a mob. The mob dragged innocent victims from their houses to be killed The killing spree lasted from 19 to 21 April, in what came to be known as the Easter Massacre.
King Manuel severely punished those who took part in the killings and the ringleaders were executed. The Dominicans who encouraged the riot were also executed. Local people convicted of murder or pillage suffered corporal punishment, and their property was confiscated. The king granted religious freedom for 20 years to all in an attempt at compensation.
In 2006, the Jewish community of Portugal held a ceremony in Lisbon to commemorate this event.” John does a beautiful blessing in front of the monument.
Next, we spend a couple of hours of free time to stroll around the city of Lisbon and then on to the bus and back to the hotel. Tomorrow we spend the day with John for more sharing and then will be heading back to LA.
Love & Light, Julie
Videos by Julie Lurie
Touring Photos by David Sand
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