"Historic heart of Portugal" Belém by rexvaughan
Belém Travel Guide: 262 reviews and 1,020 photos
Belem lies almost literally in the shadow of Lisbon being only about 3 miles from the heart of that city. It is not overshadowed, however, in terms of historic and architectural significance. It was the launching place for the great figures of Portugal's Age of Discovery which put it significantly on the map. Named for the city of Bethlehem it is not surprising that one of the great examples of Manueline architecture is here in the Monastery of Jeronimos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Having survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake pretty much intact, Belem became home to the royalty who nervously fled Lisbon. Even today it is home to the president of Portugal.
Its seagoing significance is probably best captured in the 16th century Belem Tower which was the last home sight departing sailors would see and the first sight upon their return. It sits like a sentinel guarding the port and was in fact a fortress as well as a prison. Today it is a national monument and has a nice park area around it for local picnics and children's play area.
Between the Monastery and the Monument to the Discoveries is a large plaza which stretches almost all the way down to the Tower. It is a calm and peaceful series of gardens, pools, statues and fountains.
If you are coming to Belem from Lisbon, the #15 trolley is a quick and inexpensive way to do it. We took it from Rua do... more travel advice
Even though Belem survived the earthquake of 1755, one of the most eye catching sights here is from the 20th Century.... more travel advice
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