Belem Tower (Torre de Belem) (Lisbon)

Balem Tower Lisbon


Belem Tower or Torre de Belem is a magnificent symbol of Age of Discoveries that stands on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Belem Tower was constructed in 1515- 21 by Portuguese king Manuel I. It was originally conceived as a four story fortress lighthouse on river Tagus. Portuguese sailors sailed and came back from Lisbon guided by light from a Belem Tower. Stronghold originally stood on the middle of the river, but after an earthquake of 1775 tidal wave brought so much sand that Belem Tower ended up on the silted bank. Lighthouse was badly damaged during the Napoleonic wars, but its was completely renovated in 1845. Besides serving as a lighthouse Belem Tower served as a prison and armoury of Lisbon.


A four-story building with a height of 35 meters is an example of the Manueline architectural style, typical of the Renaissance Portugal, but almost lost now. In the XIX century, the monument became an object of interest and pride of the Portuguese romantics, a thorough restoration was carried out. In 1983, the tower and the nearby Jeronimos Monastery of Jeronimos were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Currently, the tower is open to the public.