Moving, from Bairro Alto, to the westernmost district of Lisbon: Belém. The name is derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem. As it used to have it’s own historic parish. There are many distinctive buildings in this area, each as old and as impressive as the others.
To get to Belém, take the tram from Cais do Sodré, one of Lisbon’s larger stations, and get out at the stop (paragem) Pedrouços. Walk towards the river, and you’ll find the Tower of Belém. A 30 meter high tower, designed in the late 15th century. This tower was needed to protect the city.
From Torre de Belém, it is only a 15 minute walk towards the statue called “Padrão dos Descobrimentos”.
This 52 meter high statue, is an homage to the Portuguese explorers, that “gave” Portugal her colonies and was revealed on the 500th death anniversary of Henry the Navigator.
From the statue, cross the street to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Before reaching the monastery, you will need to cross the gardens. A tip: bring your lunch and eat it at the gardens, to enjoy the fountains, giving a show each whole hour.
Lisbon (and Portugal) was not always a Christian city. In the year 714 the Muslim Moors invaded Lisboa, to reign for over 100 years! To this day, a lot of the Arabic architectural influences can be found in Portugal (and Spain too). The church was finished around at the end of the 15th century, when Portugal was a Christian country again.
In 1983, both Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and the Tower of Belém, were classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A bit closer to the city center, you can find Ponte 25 de Abril. A bridge, connection Lisboa and Almada, built by the same company that made the Golden Gate Bridge. This 2.227 meter long bridge, was formerly known as the Salazar Bridge. But after the revolution, when Salazar did not longer reign, the bridge was renamed. Ending a troubled period for Lisboa.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog, and thank you for your time!