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Torre de Belém - Historical Building Lisbon - Portugal

Situated on the Lisbon waterfront, the bleached-white Belém tower is a local landmark and one of the city’s must-sees. It is a monument to Portugal’s glory as a great maritime nation. Constructed from 1515 to 1520, it is located on the harbor where so many voyages of discovery, exploration and trade departed and arrived. It was designed in a sort of blended Moorish-Gothic mix which is quite striking, with balconies and towers. Although it is a beautiful building, it was designed practically as a line of defense for the harbor. When the Spanish ruled Portugal (1580-1640) it served as a political prison.

The interior is rather Spartan, but does contain some interesting antiques. The tower is fun to explore, and you’ll be rewarded with some excellent views of the harbor. Look for the carved stone Rhinoceros: it is considered to be the first such carving in Europe and is proof of early Portuguese contacts with far-off lands. The Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site. In July, 2007, The Belem Tower was selected by the Portuguese as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal: thousands of people voted online and via cel phone from a list of 77 contenders.

Not far from the tower, along the waterfront, is a monument to the first Portuguese trans-Atlantic flight. On March 30, 1922, pilot Gago Coutinho and navigator Sacadura Cabral, two veteran naval officers, took off from Lisbon, arriving in Rio de Janeiro on June 17 after several stops on small islands along the way. Look for a statue of their Red Baron-looking airplane.


Praça do Império

Lisbon, Portugal

Historical Building

Getting There

Buses 27, 28, 29, 43, 49, 51 or 112 or tram 15

Travel Tips:

A visit to the tower should take about an hour at a leisurely pace. Parking can be difficult.

Price Description:

General admission: €3. Discounts for students.

Free admission on Sundays until 2 p.m.

Under 14 free

Relative price: Budget

Open Hours from:October-April, daily 10-5.otherwise 10-6:30

Days Closed:Major holidays

Contact Information:
Zip: 1400-206
Phone: 351 + 21 362 00 34
Fax: 351 + 21 363 91 45
E-mail: 351 + 21 363 91 45
URL: www.mosteirojeronimos.pt

Here are other activities in and around Lisbon that may be of interest: St George’s Castle, Queluz Palace and Sé de Lisboa.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
08 Aug 2011

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