NileGuide Expert Says:
The best views of Belém are had from the top of this monumental structure.
Avenida de Brasília
1400-038 Lisbon, Portugal
tel: +351 (0)21 303 1950
fax: +351 (0)21 303 1957
NileGuide Expert tip:
Arrive early to avoid the tour coaches.
Lisbon's Monument to the Discoveries stands tall over the Belém waterfront. The massive angular monolith was erected in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Designed in the shape of a caravel, it commemorates Portugal's Age of Discovery. Henry the Navigator stands at the prow, peering across the ocean. Other prominent figures of the age immortalized in stone on either side of the monument include Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Dom Manuel I and the poet Camões, clutching a copy of Os Lusíadas
. Visitors can take a lift to the top of the 52-metre monument and gaze down over the Rosa dos Ventos, the huge pavement mosaic charting the routes of Portuguese mariners. Look ahead and take in the astonishing beauty of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Turn round and enjoy majestic views across the River Tagus. Remember to check the interior. Regular exhibitions take place in a small gallery within the structure.