During the period of Portugal’s great maritime discoveries the city, by virtue of being a port, grew wealthy very quickly. This period of affluence is reflected in the historical district of Setúbal.
The Convent and Church of Jesus are the earliest surviving examples of the Manueline style. They were built for the wet nurse of King Manuel I. The king, on reaching maturity, continued the work previously patronised by his father. To this end, master builder Boytac was contracted and legend has it that the building’s layout and design were revealed to him in dreams.
At the time of its construction the convent’s design was viewed as very progressive.
Take a good look at the complex vaults in the main chapel with its vegetal embellishments, while the unified nave was the model that inspired the church-salon of the Monastery of Jerónimos.
Located in the former convent, the Museum of Setúbal collection features innovative period works by the king’s painter, Jorge Afonso, depicting the Manueline architectural style.
Also worth visiting if you’d like to see further examples of the Manueline style are the houses on Travessa de São José and the Church of São Julião, enlarged by king Manuel.