Padrão dos Descobrimentos
This monument was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator (1394-1460), one of the great personalities of the Portuguese Discoveries. Inside the building there is a conference room (auditorium), exhibition rooms and a magnificent view to the mouth of the river Tagus.
About 500 years ago Lisboa was a point of departure and arrival of caravelas. They went to sea, as the poet wrote, to “give new worlds to the world.” It was with the wealth that came from the New Worlds into Portugal that made it possible to build the great monuments that sang the glories of the epoch of Portuguese discoveries.
It was up to D. Manuel, successor to D. João II, to order the construction of the Torre de Belém, to honor the patron of the city of Lisboa, S. Vicente.
Francisco de Arruda was named Mestre do Baluarte de Belém and, after he returned from North Africa, where he had built various forts, he got to work, in 1514.
Six years later, the Torre de Belém was complete, with the unique architectural form it has, with the Islamic and oriental influences and decorative elements, with the segmented cupulas that cover the towers one of the most particular examples.
As a symbol of the prestige of the King, its decoration highlighted the Manueline symbology with the decoration that surrounded the building, adding elegant knots, military spheres, crosses from the Ordem Militar de Cristo and naturalistic elements.
Special standouts include the image of a rhinoceros, the first in stone in all of Europe, supporting the base of the guard tower facing west, clear proof of Portugal’s pioneering attitude toward other countries and other lands.
In the structure of the Torre, we can distinguish two parts: the tower itself, in the medieval tradition, but slender and with four vaulted rooms, and the bulwark, in modern style. And this is where you enter, when you go through the main door.
Served as a prison, with its storage rooms transformed into cells, starting in 1580, with the occupation of the Philippines.
Today the impressive Torre de Belém is a mark of the Portuguese adventure, recognized by UNESCO, in 1983, as Cultural Patrimony for All Humanity.
The former residence of Sebastião José de Carvalho and Mello is a typical 18th-century manor house, created by the Hungarian architect Carlos Mardel. Inside, the paintings and decorated stucco ceilings are worth admiring. Nowadays, the palace contains few original pieces; however, the Town Council and the actual descendants of the marquis are considering an agreement to restore some of the atmosphere of the time. br>
The surrounding space exhibits statues, waterfalls, farms and the gardens, reflecting the style of life of the well-to-do families of the age. Estates with both leisure spaces and agricultural lands were common in the 18th century. The marquis of Pombal estate followed this principle, with a rigorous geometry to divide recreation spaces, great gardens and rural properties. It was at the gardens surrounding the palace that cultural events were held: theater, ballet, music, etc.
Marquis of Pombal Palace
The property results from joining three estates. At the Quinta de Baixo (Low Farm), you can visit the palace, the gardens, the wine-cellar and some farming lands. The Quinta de Cima includes the fishing house, the grande Taveira cascade, orchards and instalations for the production of wood and silk-worms. Finally, at Quinta do Marco, there is the Casa da Serra (Hill House), surrounded by lands with olive trees, vineyards and orchards.
Marquis of Pombal Palace
Belonging to the estate and right next to the entrance to the palace, the Manor Chapel stands. Also planned by the architect Carlos Mardel, it was concluded in 1762 and consecrated to Our Lady of the Graces. Stucco decorations by the by the Italian João Grossi, three altars with paintings by André Gonçalves and a representation of the life of the Virgin are worth admiring.
Written by Sílvia Padrão