Belem Tower

Belem Tower

Before we take a look at the tower itself, just step back a moment to consider the strange and intriguing history of this major Lisbon historical attraction. In 1755 a huge earthquake hit the Southern region of Portugal, which almost completely destroyed the City of Lisbon. Prior to the earthquake, it is said that Belém Tower resided upon the banks of the Targus River. Legend says that after the earthquake, the tower was left stranded in the middle of the river. Although this cannot be entirely disproven, recently discovered records seem to indicate that the tower was actually constructed on a man-made island in the middle of the river prior to the earthquake. However, we can see that the Belém Tower is something of a famous historical attraction for not only tourists, but also the local Lisbon people.

Lisbon city tour

by Maria Eklind

The tower is located in the Belem district (from which it takes its name), this is one of the major tourist districts of Lisbon (second only to the Alfama district). If you are planning on visiting the Belem district then you should plan to take a trip out to the Belém Tower at the same time.

The tower has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its important historical nature and the fact it forms such a pivotal point of Portuguese maritime history. Originally constructed as a fort to guard the city against attack from the sea, the tower has played an active role in the defence of Portugal until only 200 years ago

Within the tower the visitor will find relics and exhibits which document Portugal’s golden age of sail, a time when the Portuguese were the preeminent explorers of the era. By visiting the upper floors, you may enjoy a breath-taking view out across the Targus Estuary, a view which has not changed noticeably for hundreds of years.

Highlights of the Belém Tower

The watchtowers of the tower have been constructed in a Moorish design. They are the only examples of their kind to be found outside of what used to be named Christendom.

The statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming is also worth taking a look at, and it is located close to the arcade windows which overlook the river.

The Belém Tower for Families
The tower may not be suitable for very young children, older children will find the strange location and even stranger history of the tower most interesting. This is especially true of the museum within the tower, which houses many fascinating exhibits relating to the golden age of sail.

Belém Tower Opening Times
Belém Tower is open from Tuesday through to Sunday. In the summer from May until September it opens from 10am until 6:30pm. In the winter from October until April it opens from 10am until 5pm. Getting to the Belém Tower
The Belém Tower is located at:
Avenida da India, Belem District.
Tram number 15 stops on the riverbank opposite the tower.

Date posted: 31st October, 2018

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