There are eight cloisters in the Convent, on three different levels, and you could happily spend many hours exploring the details and experiencing the atmosphere.
The Cemetery Cloister was where monks and knights were buried and was built under Henry the Navigator in 15C, The tiles date from that period, and the tomb holds Diogo da Gama (d.1523), the brother of Vasco da Gama. In earlier times Gualdim Pais had built a watchtower to protect the early church and in the 13C the Templars erected the Church of Santa Maria do Olival as a burial place for the Order. Sadly I did not know of this church and it will have to wait for another visit.
The Laundry Cloister was used to wash the monks’ clothes and built c.1433 while Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) was Grand Master of the Order.
The Hostelry Cloister was built in 1541-42 to house guests and pilgrims on the Route of St James. Servants, stables, and access to the Infirmary were on the ground floor.
St Barbara’s Cloister was built in the 16C and you can see the Chapter House Window from this cloister.
The Micha Cloister was named after ‘michas’, crumbs or leftovers which were distributed to the poor. The doorway is the original entrance lodge, moved to this cloister in the 17C.
The Necessaria Cloister provided washing and toilet facilities.
The Ravens’ Cloister was built in the mid to late 16C and was used as a retreat, or for reading and prayer and housed the library. (The name is odd – I can’t find an explanation.)
The Main Cloister, King João III Cloister, was built in the 16C and is considered an architectural masterpiece of its kind. In each corner there are graceful, twisting stairs to the floor above.