Belém is linked to Portugal’s Golden Age of Discoveries as the site where the famous navigators set sail to discover the world. Today it is a spacious green suburb with many gardens, parks and monuments that are well worth a visit. Amongst Belém’s attractions are the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries, the Torre de Belém, the Belém Cultural Centre and Rua Vieira Portuense.
Photo: Bernt Rostad
Saturday, 26 July 2008
In one of the wings of the former monastery we can find the Museu da Marinha, an excellent place to learn a little about the naval history of Portugal, and the Museu de Arqueologia. The monastery church, the Igreja de Santa Maria de Belém, is a magnificent church with a nave flanked by two aisles separated by elegant pillars that support a beautiful and unique ogival dome. The luminosity, with the sunlight filtered by the stained glass windows, is extraordinary, creating an almost unreal atmosphere. The tombs of Vasco da Gama and the epic poet Luís de Camões can be found in the church. The visitor feels simply overwhelmed by the beauty and grandiosity associated with the history, the faith, and also the knowledge and determination that moved Portuguese culture.
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Continuing along the riverside, you will arrive at the neighbourhood with the largest number of heritage sites connected with the voyages of discovery: Belém. It was from the beach in Belém that Vasco da Gama set sail to discover the sea route to India and the grandiosity of the former empire can be sensed throughout the area, including one of the symbols of the city, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the construction of which was begun in 1501 by King Manuel I and was concluded just a century later. Overlooking the magnificent Praça do Império, the monument possesses architectural features from the late Gothic and the Renaissance and is one of the most beautiful and magnificent monuments in the capital. These architectural features are combined with royal, religious, naturalist and nautical decorative elements to create a building that is considered the jewel of the distinctively Portuguese Manueline style. Its architectural excellence is more than evident and it has been recognised as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
If we walk down to Santa Apolónia and continue though this riverside neighbourhood, we will find the highly original Casa dos Bicos (16th century). The "bicos" in its name are the diamond-shaped stones that cover its façade. In addition to the aesthetic singularity of the building, with its Italian influences combined with elements of the Manueline style, it is also of considerable historical importance, having belonged to Afonso de Albuquerque, viceroy of India, and being the site of some interesting Roman archaeological finds.
Friday, 30 May 2008
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, we will come across one of the most popular and busy markets in the city, the Feira da Ladra, or flea market. Everything you can possibly imagine is on sale here and you will find the most useless and irresistible objects, as well as true antiques. It is a true walk through culture.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Close to the castle, in Graça, is the church and monastery of São Vicente de Fora, one of the most imposing and notable religious monuments in the city. It was built immediately after the city was recaptured from the Moors because of a vow made by King Afonso Henriques to São Vicente during the siege of the city in 1143.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Although it was at the castle that everything began, historical sites can be found throughout the city. With a thousand years of history, Lisbon is full of monuments of great importance, that reflect some of the key moments in the Portugal’s history. Capital of the Empire, the peak of Lisbon’s wealth was during the Age of Discovery, which guaranteed its heritage of a rare beauty.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
On the Costa do Castelo, you will find other viewpoints with special atmospheres, particularly the unique Chapitô. Here a circus school, bar, café, terrace and restaurant, combine to create an exceptional, diversified, beautiful and spacious location.
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Now we will arrive at the Castelo de São Jorge, where the History of the city began. This is one of the most visited monuments in the city, not only for its historical and cultural importance, but also for its magnificent views over Lisbon. We find pairs of sweethearts, children and young people, the elderly in conversation, families and tourists, in a friendly atmosphere that has been passed down from century to century.
Photos: Andy54321 e La Dulcinea
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Saturday, 12 April 2008
As soon as the streets start to rise, we come across the most popular of Portuguese saints, Santo António (St Anthony), in a small restored statue on the church dedicated to the saint and in the Museu Antoniano. This popular saint is the inspiration for panegyrics on love. Next we find the Sé Catedral (13th century), a true monument, whose imposing presence and austerity ensure that we stop and enter it to discover its surprises.