This Wednesday, June 28, we meet at 3 pm on Praça do Comércio to go to beautiful Belém! The town is located at the outskirts of Lisbon right at the mouth of the river Tejo.
From Belém to the world! Many expeditions started from its harbour and laid the basis for the wealth of the Portuguese empire.
Since the town was untouched by the great earthquake of 1755, we have the chance to see some sights dating back to the time of expeditions still today. This includes the “Torre de Belém” and the “Mosteiro dos Jerónimos”, which are both part of the UNESCO world heritage. Our teacher Beatriz will give us detailed information about the rich history of this amazing place.
At the end of the tour, there is no other choice but to have one (or more) original “Pastéis de Belém”. Bolos portugueses do not get better than this.
Tag along to train your Portuguese, learn something about our country’s history and make friends from other classes!
We meet at 3.00 pm on Wednesday, June 28, in Praça do Comércio (close to the statue).
Toru Report and Photo Gallery
Let’s look back at our tour to Belém!
This week’s tour was named “Belém: dos descobrimentos à ideia de Império”. At the start, our teacher Beatriz explained how this phrase can be interpreted, because Belém’s historical importance stems from two time periods.
On the one hand, it is dates back to the time of the discoveries that began in the 15th century. That’s where our tour started. We visited the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which can be considered the tombstone of Dom Manuel I, a supporter of the journeys of Vasco de Gama and other adventurers. The monastery’s wall is covered with ornaments of sea travel such as ropes, artichokes and barrels.
On the other hand, Belém’s historical importance stems from the time of the dictatorship under Salazar, who holds the sad record of the longest dictatorship in Europe. In 1940, Portugal hosted the “Exposição do Mundo Português” in the town by the river Tejo. The exhibition was used as a propaganda tool to show “how great Portugal has been” and “how great it could be again” with reference to the golden age of expeditions and the Portuguese empire. Today, the gardens of the monastery and Belém Cultural Center are located on the exhibition site.
Going back in time, Beatriz then took us to the Torre de Belém. The town’s strategic position at the mouth of the river Tejo is source of its wealth since the age of expeditions. The tower constructed in the 16th century is the only one ever finished of the many planned to defend Portugal from the sea. After all, Portugal was never attacked. If it was thanks to the tower or for other reasons remains unanswered.
To finish off our tour there was no other choice but to taste at least one Pastel de Belém! The Portuguese pastries date back to 1863 and here in Belém they say any other pastel is just a cheap copy. We can assure you, they are super delicious. Look at some more pictures below and make sure to join us on our next tour: Wednesday, July 5!