Belém, known as the Portuguese Bethlehem, is one of the most interesting places to visit in Lisbon. This place has great historical significance since many ancient relics and architectural marvels are located here. The Torre de Belém, being one such marvel, is the Torre de Belém which was first built for ancient maritime use, but now serves as a historical monument. It now serves as on of the more popular lisbon attractions for tourists!
Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém) is situated on the banks of River Tagus an is a UNESCO World Heritage site. King John II commissioned the tower in the 16th century and it epitomizes the philosophy of the Age of Discoveries. The Age of Discovery or Age of Exploration was an era spanning the early 15th century through into the early 17th century, during which time European ships traveled the globe in search of new trading routes and partners. They were interested in trading goods such as gold, silver and spices.
This giant tower, designed by Francisco de Arruda, was built mainly to defend the Lisbon harbor. It played a significant role in the maritime discoveries of the Portuguese. Tower of Belém is colloquially called the “gateway of Lisbon.” and is an utterly mesmerising piece of architecture.
Built using limestone, the tower resembles a chess piece. An imposing structure with four storeys and a bastion, this architectural marvel boasts of the Portuguese Manueline style of architecture. There are also hints of incorporation of other architectural styles, thus giving the tower a rather distinct look! With it’s alluring filigree stonework and other minute carvings on the sturdy walls, the Torre de Belém is considered as one of the wonders of Lisbon.
Gather your breath, as you will need to climb the narrow spiral staircase to reach the top of the tower. However, rest assured the view is well worth the effort. Enjoy the beautiful views of Belém and river from the balcony and take a look up the prom or marginal and you will be able to see at least 10 other fantastic Lisbon attractions very close by!
Other Lisbon Attractions Near Torre de Belém:
- Jardim Botanico Tropical: Is a botanical garden in Belém host to a whole range of exotic plants. On a sweltering hot day, it provides a perfect cool retreat.
- Palacio Nacional da Ajuda: It is a neoclassical palace built in the early 19th century, which housed the royal family from 1860 to 1910.
- Palacio de Belém: This 16th century, salmon-coloured enchanting palace serves as the official residence of the President.
- Museu Nacional dos Coches: This unique museum has about 70 coaches in posh and glamorous interiors from the 17th to 19th centuries. If you like museums then this is a beauty.
- Or take a gander at our complete list of the most popular tourist attractions around town!