Lisbon Journals

The Age of Discoveries

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A March 2010 trip to Lisbon by Liam Hetherington

Belem Tower/Torre de Belem Photo, Lisbon, Portugal More Photos
Quote: In less than a century Portuguese navigators opened up the world to Europeans. Relics of the Golden Age of "The Discoveries" can be found in Lisbon's western suburbs of Belem and Alcantara. And a trip out east to the Parque das Nacoes allows you to explore the seas anew...

Belem

Monument to the Discoveries

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Attraction | "Henry The Navigator Leads The Way..."

Monument to the Discoveries Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Belém, to the west of the city centre, is where the mouth of the Rio Tejo opens out into the Atlantic. This was were the safe waters of Portugal ended and the dangers of the ocean began. It was from here that Portugal’s explorers set out in search of wealth and glory. This wealth and glory could only come by braving the Atlantic; a frequently hostile Spain controlled access to the Mediterranean, and much of that sea’s trade was dominated by the Venetians. Portugal could only look outside Europe for opportunities.One of the prime movers in this was Prince Henry the Navigator,...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Monument to the Discoveries
River Tagus
Lisbon, Portugal

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery)

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Attraction | "Monks, Monarchs and Mariners"

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The Monastery of the Hieronymites (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) was where Vasco da Gama and his men spent their last night in prayer before they sailed off on their expedition to find a route to India. When they came back laden with treasure (peppercorns, since you ask – enough to cover the cost of the expedition six times over) King Manuel I ("the Fortunate") decided to completely make over the monastery in thanks.Work on the monastery and the nearby Tower of Belém was carried out in the brief efflorescence of a distinctly Portuguese architectural scheme known – after the monarch – as Manueline. This was an ornate take on late Gothic architecture with influences of Spanish...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery)
Praca do Imperio
Lisbon, Portugal 1400-206
+351 (21) 3620034

Belem Tower/Torre de Belem

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Attraction | "The Cutest Landmark In Lisbon"

Belem Tower/Torre de Belem Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The Torre de Belém is a twee little fort, a sweet dinky castle about 5m off shore. It is so beautifully ornamented, even after five centuires of exposure to the elements that I found it hard to think of it as a serious piece of fotification with a proper miltary purpose. But this is why it was created in the early 16th century, to plug a hole in the defence of the estuary – although admittedly after a century it was no longer used for that purpose (later usages include as a customes house and as a political prison).Although the Tower is now only about 5m off the harbourside it was originally 250m offshore, right out in the channel. This shows how much the Tejo estuary has silt...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Belem Tower/Torre de Belem
Avenida Da Brasilia
Lisbon, Portugal

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem

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Restaurant | "The Famous Pasteis de Belem"

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
I sometimes think it mustn’t be a bad life being a monk. If you’re not busy brewing beer you get to live in some of the most beautiful buildings around – the Mosteiro de Jeronimos in Belém being a case in point. Not only did monks live and worship in this gorgeously over-the-top complex, but they also got well fed doing it. For this monastery was the home of the Pasteis de Belém. The pasteis de nata that you will see in confeitarias across Lisbon are all base upon these famous custard tarts. These were prepared solely for the delectation of the Hieronymite monks out here in Belém. Following the 1830 liberal revoluation and the dissolution of the monasteries the cooks moved to...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem
Rua De Belem 84-92
Lisbon, Portugal
351-21-3638077

Alcantara

Museu do Oriente

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Attraction | "Encounters With "The Other""

Quote:
If Belém is symbolic of the great days of Portuguese exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Alcântara to its east is symbolic of the later years when Portuguese merchants and businessmen consolidated their foothold in the East. The docks here, in the shadow of the sky-high stanchions of the great Golden-Gate-esque Ponte 25 de Abril, are lined with warehouses and cranes. This was the great commercial entrepôt of Lisbon at the height of its wealth and influence. The warehouses are now trendy clubs and bars and flat conversions.One warehouse is rather more than this however. It houses the brand spanking new Museo do Oriente, the Museum of the Orient. This is an academic but be...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Museu do Oriente
Avenida Brasalia, Doca De Alcantara (Norte)
Lisbon, Portugal
(351) 213 585 244

Parque das Nacoes

Lisbon Oceanario

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Attraction | "Exploring The Seas With Vasco"

Lisbon Oceanario Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Much of Portugal’s greatness stemmed from its exploration of the seas. It is appropriate then that Lisbon’s latest star attraction is devoted to just such an exploration. Except that instead of just sailing along over their surface, at the Oceanarium you can explore beneath the waves.The Oceanarium itself, often compared to an aircraft carrier or a James Bond set, is sited in a unique watery environment, out in the middle of the Doca dos Olivais. It is literally surrounded by water and has to be accessed by a sloping bridge where speakers get you fully into the mood by playing the sounds of waves and gulls. Once ‘aboard’ you have access to two levels of circular walkway. Thes...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Lisbon Oceanario
Parque Das Nacoas
Lisbon