After visiting the most significant monuments of Lisbon, located in Belém, cross the emblematic Bridge 25 de Abril on the way to the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen, over the waters of the Atlantic, followed by dinner in a relaxed environment.
An unforgettable experience!
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 most well-known and appreciated Portuguese speciality: pastéis de Belém.
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.
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 (the 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 lioz limestone, involved by the traditional “calçada portuguesa” pavement, and depicts the places discovered by the Portuguese expansion in the 15th and 16th century.
Central 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
The idea of building a statute dedicated to the Sacred Hearth of Jesus came about in 1934, when the Patriarch of Lisbon at that time, Cardinal Cerejeira, visited Brazil.
Nevertheless, due to the difficulties arising from the second world war, the first stone of the Sanctuary was not cast until the 18th December 1949, after funds have been raised all over the national territory, especially by children who offered their renounces in every parishes.
The monument was inaugurated almost 10 years later, on the 17th May 1959.
Located in Santo António da Caparica, the Miradouro dos Capuchos [Capuchos Belvedere] offers a privileged view over Costa da Caparica, Lisbon, Sintra Ridge, Espichel, the Tower of São Julião, Bugio and the Bay of Cascais.
Very close to Lisbon, the town of Costa de Caparica currently has around 13,500 inhabitants and is well known for its wonderful beaches, which have been maintained through the creation of pontoons and re-placing of sand in the beaches along the river Tagus mouth.
“O Barbas” is one of the most famous restaurants in Costa de Caparica. Established in 1979, it offers a fragrant menu based on sea products such as “caldeirada” [a stew made of different types of fish, potatoes, onions and tomatoes], “arroz de marisco” [seafood rice] and grilled fishes, without forgetting high-quality meat dishes.