Belém is located 7 km away from the historic center and is home to several monuments in Lisbon. Some of Lisbon’s most emblematic monuments are found in this neighborhood, such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, which were built in the early 16th century.
The Ajuda Palace was built to house the Portuguese royal family after the terrible earthquake of 1755. The neighborhood was chosen because it was not very affected by the earthquake that destroyed much of downtown Lisbon.
Belém has several tourist attractions that you cannot miss. Here we will list some information about these incredible monuments full of history. In addition, the neighborhood offers several gardens and plenty of open space to enjoy the outdoors, have a picnic with family and friends.
Come and discover with us 5 reasons that make this neighborhood so special:
- JERÓNIMOS MONASTERY – Classified as a National Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jerónimos Monastery was founded by King D. Manuel I in the early 16th century. Its construction started in 1501 and lasted for 100 years. The Monastery has Manueline style architecture where it is possible to identify religious, nautical and royal elements preserved throughout the construction. Inside the Jerónimos Monastery we can find the church-hall, a fantastic architectural work by João de Castilho. As soon as you enter, you can find the tombs of the poet Luís de Camões, author of the epic poem “Os Lusíadas”, and Vasco da Gama, commander of the navy that in 1497 headed for India, among other historical figures.
- BELÉM TOWER – UNESCO World Heritage, the Belém Tower was built during the reign of King Manuel I 200 meters away from the bank of the Tagus River, between 1514 and 1520. In order to protect Lisbon from possible invaders, the tower was equipped with the first mechanisms to resist artillery fire and had 16 cannons. Nowadays, it is possible to visit the Governor’s Room, the Kings Room, the Audience Room and the Chapel with its characteristic 16th century vaults on the four floors of the tower.
- APRIL 25 BRIDGE – Built between 1962 and 1966. Initially it was named after the Portuguese dictator Salazar, but after April 25, 1974, with the carnation revolution the name was changed to “Ponte 25 de Abril”.
- PASTÉIS DE BELÉM – Traditional Portuguese sweet, Pastel de Belém started its manufacture in 1837. The recipe was kept secret, being known only by the pastry masters who made the famous pastries in the “Oficina do Segredo”. Even today, revenue remains the same.
- DISCOVERY STANDARD – Built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Infante D. Henrique, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos symbolizes a caravel that is 52 meters high. It is possible to identify Infante D. Henrique ahead, leading 32 other historical personalities who contributed to the Age of Discoveries, such as King D. Afonso V (1432-81), who promoted the first discoveries, Vasco da Gama (1460- 1524) who discovered the Maritime route to India, Pedro Álvares Cabral (1467-1520), discoverer of Brazil and Fernão de Magalhães, who crossed the Atlantic in 1520-21, among others.
Are you curious to know Belém? See how Go2Lisbon can take you to visit this neighborhood and other fantastic places in Lisbon.