The Portuguese discoveries unfold from two of the most emblematic monuments in the city of Lisbon: Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
You will also have time to enjoy the most well-known and appreciated Portuguese specialty, the pastéis de Belém.
Casa dos Bicos – 3,00€*
Arco da Rua Augusta – 2,50€*
Mosteiros dos Jerónimos – 10,00€*
Torre de Belém – 6,00€*
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Torre de Belém – 12,00€*
Padrão dos Descobrimentos – 3,00€*
Museu de marinha (navy museum)- 6,00€*
The construction of this house was ordered by D. Brás de Albuquerque in 1523, is one of Lisbon’s ex-libris since it is one of the few which survived (at least partially) the earthquake. The “beaks” were inspired in the Italian buildings of the time, trying to imitate diamonds. The house is currently the headquarters of José Saramago Foundation.
Praça do Comércio (commerce square), also known as Terreiro do Paço (royal square) since it was the location chosen for the Royal Ribeira Palace until the earthquake in 1755, is now a days similar to one of the major European capitals’ squares. It has the same esplanades, but its peculiar charm maintains unchanged. On the river front, this square was the main centre of commerce in ancient times, and in the surrounding buildings there are still a lot of ministries and services connected to customs authorities.
You may also visit the inside and cover of the Rua Augusta Arch, which took over one century to be built: its first project dates back to 1759 but it was only concluded in 1875.
The construction of this monastery started in 1501. It is one of the most characteristic specimens of the Manueline architectural style. King D. Manuel I ordered its construction to bring together in one single pantheon the deceased members of his dynasty, celebrate his devotion to Our Lady and celebrate the arrival of Vasco da Gama to India. The construction in lioz limestone is so strong that only a few little significant parts of the monument were destroyed by the earthquake and immediately rebuilt.
King D. Manuel offered the monastery to the Order of St. Jerome, which provided assistance to seafarers going by. The Order of St. Jerome was a contemplative order with a strong humanist nature and a high degree of culture, and occupied the monastery for almost 4 centuries, until it was extinct in 1833.
In addition to the architectural beauty of the construction, the chiselled resting tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões, and the huge silver tabernacle are worthy of a closer look. It was offered by King D. Afonso VI and his brother D. Pedro in 1675 as payment of a promise they made to succeed in the battle of Montes Claros in 1665. This battle put an end to the Restoration War, and the ruling of Portugal by Spanish kings.
This interesting museum gathers a diversified portfolio of pieces, publications, articles and objects which common denominator is their connection to the sea. The museum collection started being reunited by initiative of King D. Luís I in 1863, but only in 1962 it ended up occupying the west and north wings: of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
Some of the exhibition halls cover the following themes: galleys, river traffic, coastal fisheries, offshore fisheries, royal chambers, large yachts, and the discoveries.
The true name of this majestic military monument is a secret to many people (even the Portuguese). This is the “Torre de S. Vicente” (tower of St. Vincent), paying homage to the martyr patron saint of the city of Lisbon, which image can be found in one of the north face niches (together with St. Michael in the other niche).
Its main mission was to complete the defensive line of Lisbon bay, which was at that time composed of three points: the fort of Cascais, the fortress of St. Sebastian of Caparica, across the river, and a wooden structure called the “Great Ship” placed on the location where the Tower was later built.
But more than a military work, this tower became a symbol of the power of King D. Manuel, who ordered it to be erected at the end of his reign (between 1515 and 1519). The tower is a masterpiece of architecture and a landmark of the Portuguese epic maritime discoveries.
The decoration motifs are typical of the Manueline style: elegant knots, armillary spheres (personal banner of King D. Manuel I), crosses of the Military Order of Christ, and natural elements. Worth of mentioning are the stone statues of a rhinoceros (the first known to the entire Europe) and the image of Our Lady of Belém, on the façade facing the river.
In 1940, on the occasion of the “Portuguese World Show”, and important event during dictatorship times to praise the qualities of the Portuguese people, the first model of this monument was built in a light iron, cement and clay structure.
Twenty years later, in 1960, when celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince D. Henrique, the structure was rebuilt in more solid materials: concrete, and stonework of rosal stone brought from Leiria, with sculptures in limestone from Sintra.
The wind rose existing in front of the monument is also worth admiring. It is 14 metres long, made of red and black liós limestone, involved by the traditional “calçada portuguesa” pavement, and depicts the places discovered by the Portuguese expansion in the 15th and 16th century.
Master piece, 9 meters – Prince D. Henrique
Side pieces, 7 meters – 32 characters of the discoveries: navigators, cartographers, warriors, colonisers, evangelisers, chroniclers and artists
Total height, 56 meters