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The symbolic monument of Lisbon.
On the banks of the Tagus River, southwest of Lisbon, the Belem Tower is a must-see monument during your visit to the Portuguese capital. Built between 1514 and 1519, during the reign of Manuel I, this fortress was a major building in the maritime history of Portugal.
The Belem Tower has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, and attracts many visitors for its characteristic architecture and the magnificent view it offers.
A dive into the history of the great discoveries.
With your ticket to the Belém Tower, you will be immersed in the 16th century, when Portugal was one of the most important maritime powers in the world. Designed by the architect Francisco de Arruda, it was, on the one hand, to ensure the defense of the port of Lisbon. Located at the outpost on the Tagus River, the Tower of Belém was a strategic fortress against external invasions. But this tower also saw the departure of prestigious explorers, with their caravels launched towards the unexplored territories of Africa, America or Asia.
The Belem Tower, symbol of Manueline art.
The Belem Tower, like the Hieronymites Monastery located a few steps away, is distinguished by a unique architecture, typical of Portugal: the Manueline style.
This architectural form borrows its name from King Manuel I, whose reign symbolized the power and attractiveness of Portugal in the 16th century. The Manueline style is distinguished, thus, by its great modernity and testifies to the wealth of the country at the time of its maritime explorations. The characteristics of this architectural style, which you can observe on the tower of Belém, are essentially in the proliferation of decorative motifs. These motifs recall the maritime and military dimension of the country, but also the Catholic religion, which is very important, and finally, they echo the royal figure of Manuel I. During your visit, you should pay attention to the many details!
The visit to the tower of Belém.
The architect Francisco de Arruda designed the tower of Belém in the shape of a caravel’s bow. It is thus composed of two large structures: the bastion and the tower.
The first room, in which you will arrive directly, contained the artillery rooms. The walls are made up of openings for the cannons of the fortress. Above you will find a first terrace, which was used by the guards, and which today offers a beautiful view of the Tagus.
The tower, which you can reach from the terrace with your Belém Tower ticket, has five floors. Each one gives access to a specific room, which can be visited.
All of them are connected by a spiral staircase, which can sometimes be difficult to use in case of heavy traffic. But climbing it is worth the detour: at the top, a second terrace allows visitors to have a view at 35 meters high!
Things to know before you visit:
The visit is free for children under 12 years old, and lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour. You can also take advantage of your presence in Belém to visit other important monuments in the area, such as the Hieronymites’ Monastery or the Berardo Museum, a wonderful museum of modern art.
For people in wheelchairs, access is limited to the first floor. The visit to the tower is unfortunately not possible.
All about the Belem Tower ticket
Access to the Belem Tower is free with the Lisboa Card, and no reservation is required.
By taking advance tickets, you will avoid a long wait on site. With these tickets, you don’t have to plan a time to visit, just choose the day you want to be there.
From May to September :
10H – 18H30
From October to April :
10H – 17H30.
Closed on Monday.
January 1st, Easter Sunday,
June 13th and December 25th.
Between 1H and 1H30.
15E Stop Lg. Princesa (at 6 min)
Lines 149, 729, 79B.
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