The Voyages of Discovery brought great wealth and knowledge to Portugal. Explorers came into contact with distant civilisations and many artists travelled to Portugal to work here. From this cultural interchange emerged the manueline artistic style.
It first came to the fore during the reign of king Manuel I (1495-1521). However, the name attributed to this expression of the Portuguese creativity was only adopted in the 19th century.
The Tower of Belém and the Monastery of Jerónimos are the defining constructions ordered by king Manuel. Look out for the Armillary Sphere and the Cross of Christ on all monuments. They are the king’s personal symbols and reflect the power he sought to wield.
Many other 16th century symbols also adorn the Gothic architecture.
A visit to the Convent and Church of Jesus in Setúbal reveals the first examples of the Manueline. And the wonderful designs of the Monastery of Batalha and the Convent of Christ, in Tomar, they too display the king’s markings.
Sintra is another site of historical importance. The Palácio da Vila (Town Palace), the residence of king Manuel I, reveals his fascination for Mudéjar art. The Palácio da Pena also incorporates elements of the 19th century Manueline revival.
Portugal is rich in such fine examples of the Manueline style.