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Tower of Belém

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Torre de Belem is a fortified tower in the Belem district of Lisbon, built in the 16th century to commemorate Vasco de Gama’s expedition and a memorial to the Portuguese power during the great age of discoveries. The tower also had another function as part of a defense system that defended the entrance of the Tagus River. The Tower was constructed between 1515 and 1521 by military architect Francisco de Arruda, who had already built several fortresses in Portuguese possession in Morocco. The influence of the Moorish decorative art is manifest in delicate decorations of the arched windows and balconies and in the ribbed cupolas of the watch towers.

The Tower of Belém is considered one of the main works of the Portuguese late gothic, manueline style. While showing several features of this style, some of the decoration comes from the 1840 restoration work. The tower was made a UNESCO world heritage site and guided tours now operate to showcase the intricacy and beauty of this monument to Portugal’s glorious seafaring past.

For a wide selection of places to stay in Lisbon, visit The Hotel Guru.

Written by  John Johnston.

Other expert and press reviews

“Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon”

Standing at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, the Monastery of the Hieronymites – construction of which began in 1502 – exemplifies Portuguese art at its best. The nearby Tower of Belém, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's expedition, is a reminder of th… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

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