"Torre de Belém: Lisbon's architectural symbol" Torre de Belém - Tower of Belém Tip by berenices

Torre de Belém - Tower of Belém, Lisbon: 224 reviews and 444 photos


Situated on the mouth of the river Tagus, this impressive and beautiful tower built to serve as a fort, must have been in the Middle Ages, seem to returning explorers, sailors, and other Portuguese, a welcome home, and to foreigners coming to Lisbon, must have been an awesome sight. It still is awesome. The tower was built between 1514-1520 during the reign of Dom Manuel I and was constructed on the site where the caravels were launched to set sail for India, and the other colonies that the Portuguese established.

The Torre was designed by the architect Diogo Boitaca, who also designed the nearby Mosteiro do Jeronimos. The Torre was built on the Manueline style at the same time reflects Islamic and Oriental influences. The towers are intricately adorned with cords and other references to navigation and the Discoveries. The entire structure is made up of five levels, and built with stones that seem to be able to last forever. The decorations and the artistry on the stone are exquisite, it's quite hard to believe that all this were meant to serve a defense and military purpose. From inside, and on the top levels, one gets a perfect view of the bridge beyond on the left, and the opening to the Atlantic on the right -- simply breathtaking.

The entrance is through a drawbridge, that during high tide, easily is awashed with waves. Be ready to do some running and jumping, and getting your feet a bit wet when visiting at high tide.

The Torre is a UNESCO heritage site.

Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa
Directions: The Torre is located in the Belem area, around 20 minutes walk from the Jeronimos Monastery.
Phone: +351 21 362 0034
Website: http://www.torrebelem.pt/en/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 21, 2010
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