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Torre de Belém

Published by Phil Tdm — 9 years ago

Belém Tower is a fortified tower located in the Belém district of Lisbon. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery) because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be both part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. The tower was built in the early 16th century and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and the 30 meter (100 foot), four story tower. It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore.

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Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — 2 years ago

Belém Tower (or Torre de Belém, in portuguese) is probably the most famous and important monument of Portugal. It used to be a military defense construction to protect the Tejo river and it also represents a simbol for portuguese nation, as it reminds the great navigations during the 15th and 16th centuries. 

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Once you visit the place you can experience all this history as you see the Tejo meeting the sea from the top of the tower. Inside its chambers, you can see the portuguese royal family crests sculpted in the building's walls.

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Also, the Tower has three floors, each of them called after an important figure of portuguese kingdom: The King, The Governor and The Audience.

The tower is located in a beach in Belém district, but it is said that it was once completely surrounded by water, and the only way to get there was by boat. I'm glad it's more acessible nowadays, even though climbing the steps can be a little complicated.

Tips and expectations

Due to all this history and fame I expected a much bigger building than it really is. Also, I didn't think there would be so many tourists - if you don't buy your tickets before, you may face a big line. My tip is to get there really early in the morning and buy tickets for both Mosteiro dos Jerônimos and the Tower (6 euros for students). 

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