The Great Monument Hunt in Lisbon

Lisbon Travel Blog

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Torre de Belem

Doug and I met up early for breakfast in Porto, and then climbed in the mini-bus for our ride back to Lisbon to catch our plane.  The drive back was pleasant and I enjoyed the scenery.  The area around Porto is at a higher elevation than Lisbon and has many more trees.  We also saw lots of olive groves and grape vineyards.  It was quite nice.

We got back to the Tivoli Jardim in Lisbon and retrieved the bags we had stored there, jumped in Doug's rental car and headed out to the Tagus River area to see as many of Lisbon's landmark monuments as we could.

Our first monument find was the Torre de Belem, or Belem Tower.

Monument of the Discoveries
  It was built in the 1500's as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon from the Atlantic via the Tagus River.  It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  You can see the Moorish influence in the architecture by the decorative carvings around the windows and the domed features on the watch towers.  At some point the Torre was used mainly as a prison, and later as a customs house.

Our next great monument find was the PadrĂ£o dos Descobrimentos, the Monument of the Discoveries.  This monument was built to honor the Age of Discovery of the 15th and 16th Century and the Patron of the Discoverers, Prince Henry the Navigator.  It was originally built in 1940 or perishable materials, and rebuilt in 1960 from concrete.   It is modeled after the prow of a ship and has many of the famous Portuguese discoverers on carved around the sides, including Henry the Navigator, Pedro Escobar, Vasco de Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and Pedro Alvares Cabral.

Colonial Wars Memorial and Eternal Flame
 

One of the unusual monuments we found (in my opinion) was the Colonial Wars Monument.  It is quite striking -- two triangular shaped structures with an eternal flame burning between the two.  It commemorates the war dead in all the colonial wars that Portuguese soldiers fought in, including Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Goa, Macao, etc.  It probably also commemorates the war dead in those countries, but that was not entirely clear to me. 

The bridge over the Tagus River is known as the 25 Abril Bridge, or the 25th of April Bridge.  It commemorates the silent revolution that felled the longest dicatorship in Portugal, when the soldiers put carnations in their guns and refused to follow the dictator's commands any farther.  The bridge is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California and in fact, was built by the same engineering company.

Rei Christo, Lisbon

The Tagus area also has a statue of Christ the King, modeled after the statue of named Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.  It is smaller, and not nearly as impressive, but still has a commanding view of the city.

After our search for the monuments and some quick photos, we grabbed a quick lunch at a lunch counter and enjoyed a delicious arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). 

Doug and I are both headed to Austria next.  He will be competing in the Iron Man Austria competition in Klagenfurt, Austria.  I am going to spend a day in Vienna checking it out before joining him in Klagenfurt to cheer him on.  We both flew on Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany and then split up for our respective flights to Vienna and Klagenfurt. 

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Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem
Monument of the Discoveries
Monument of the Discoveries
Colonial Wars Memorial and Eternal…
Colonial Wars Memorial and Eterna…
Rei Christo, Lisbon
Rei Christo, Lisbon
Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem
Colonial Wars Memorial
Colonial Wars Memorial
Doug manning the Cannon at Torre d…
Doug manning the Cannon at Torre …
Me on top the Torre de Belem
Me on top the Torre de Belem
View of Lisbon from the Torre de B…
View of Lisbon from the Torre de …
Monument of the Discoveries
Monument of the Discoveries
Trying to be a Discoverer myself!
Trying to be a Discoverer myself!
Doug imitates Prince Henry, the Na…
Doug imitates Prince Henry, the N…
The Discoverers!
The Discoverers!
Opposite view of the Discoverers
Opposite view of the Discoverers
25 Abril Bridge over the Tagus Riv…
25 Abril Bridge over the Tagus Ri…
25 April Bridge
25 April Bridge
View of the Monument of the Discov…
View of the Monument of the Disco…
Lisbon
photo by: Johnpro