Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Belem - riverfront history and art

Today I went to Belém, a neighborhood along the Tagus River. Belém has many reasons to visit, both old and new.

Belém is the area from which many exploratory ships left Lisbon. It sits near the mouth of Tagus River. For that reason King Manuel I built the Mostiero dos Jerónimos (Hieronymous Monastery) in 1501. The Monastery is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was meant to impress all those who were arriving in Lisbon by boat. The church at the monastery contains the tomb of Vasco de Gama along with some beautiful stained glass. 

In addition to wanting to impress visitors, King Manuel I also understood the need to impress vistors and sailors so he built towers on both side of the river welcome sailors back with goods from colonies and trade around the world. The Torre de Belém has survived. It sits over-looking the river. 

Belem Tower

April 25th Bridge from Belem Tower

Up close at the tower

The area also includes many museums (see the entire list HERE). I really enjoyed the Museu Berardo. Located across the street from the Monastery in the Belém Cultural Center, the Museu Berardo has a very good collection of modern art from 1900 to today.

My final stop was at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This tower was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Seafarer.

a lighthouse along the Tagus

To get to Belem take Electrico #15E from to Cais do Sodre. If you walk a little bit away from the Monastery in either direction there are good restaurants in many price ranges, so don’t feel like you have to pay top Euro in the museum coffee shops.

1 comment:

  1. This area seems beautiful and laden with history. The architecture is amazing. I can see how proud they are of their seafaring adventures. but I wonder if there is any mention of their sailors participation in the slave trade. Sometimes what's left out is as important (if not more so) as what is there. Just wondering....AMD