Lisbon is Portugal's economic, political, and cultural capital. It is located near the mouth of the Tagus River, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The interesting thing about Lisbon
is that many of the monuments are located on the shores of the Tagus, or nearby.
From where the ship docked, I could see the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). This great structure is located right next to the Tagus, and resembles a giant caravel with many statues of famous Portuguese explorers. On the tip of the "caravel" stands Henry the Navigator, looking out on the river. Other explorers like Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco da Gama are also portrayed here. All the statues are located on either side of the caravel.
The huge size of the monument amazed me! A short walk away from this monument lies a small fortress called Belém Tower. Its relatively small proportions puzzled me. Why was it so small? The answer lies in its very strategic location, on the mouth of the Tagus, protecting the city behind it. The small fortress carried out the same functions as a much larger fort would. The structure itself is beautiful. It has many intricate decorations, Rennaisance style. The cannons peep out ominously. It reminded of El Morro back home. A small distance of water separates the fortress from the shore, so in order to access the tower, I needed to cross a wood bridge.
After visiting two of the major monuments near the Tagus, I walked over to the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery), which contains the remains of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama.
Inside the Navigation Museum.
The interior was beatiful; a great attraction! Apart from the monastery, I decided to visit the navigation museum. This museum houses from small models of boats to real-life ships. The whole history of the Age of Discovery is documented inside, and how the Portuguese navy evolved to what it is now. Different models of caravels, galleons, submarines, and destroyers line some halls of this very interesting museum. The largest hall contains real-sized boats and ships. Looking at all of Portugal's influence in the Age of Discovery really amazed me, a must!! After seeing the museum, I decided to go to Lisbon's center.
My last stop was the area near Praça do Comercio (Commerce Square), filled with cafes and shops. The hype was set for Portugal's match against France in the 2006 World Cup. Near the main arch at the square, people were setting up a giant screen to see the match live. I also saw a street perfomer with a chihuahua and a guitar. At a given time, the dog would bark; it was very amusing! After seeing the nice sights, I bid farewell to Lisbon. I could see both Belem Tower and the Monument of the Discoveries getting smaller and smaller...
Lisbon Sights & Attractions review
These two beautiful structures are located right next to the Tagus River in the Belem district of Lisbon, Portugal. The Monument to the Discoveries is… read entire review