Lisbon, head of the Portuguese overseas expansion

Wed, 26.09.2018

Exploring Belém and the tasty Pastéis de Belém

On the last tour on the 26th September, our Portuguese language school went with the students to Belém.

Thanks to the maritime trade and shipbuilding production, Belém’s popularity increased and it played a very important role in the Portuguese History. For strategic and logistics issues, Belém was essential to the protection of the Portuguese sea routes.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, led us through this walking tour that started in the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument was built in 1940 for the Portuguese World Exhibition. This exhibition was made during the dictatorship of Salazar to promote the Portuguese colonization and empire. In 1960 the Padrão was damaged. It was reconstructed and inaugurated to celebrate the 500 years of the death of the infant D. Henrique, the navigator. In the monument we identified major characters of the Portuguese History, such as the navigator Fernão de Magalhães. The poet Luís de Camões and the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral are also represented. In the front we have the infant D. Henrique responsible for the impulse to the Portuguese overseas expansion.

Then, we walked to the Torre de Belém. It was built between 1514 and 1520 during the reign of D. Manuel I. Its architecture style is called Manuelino in honor to the king. The tower was essential to the defense of the bar of Tejo. In the 19th century it was used by the absolutists to imprison the liberals. Nowadays, it sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the river Tejo, near Lisbon’s shore.

After the tour, we tasted the popular Pastéis de Belém. They are really delicious!

Check out the photos of the tour:

Discovering the symbols of the Portuguese glorious past

Most of you probably know that Portugal was one of the pioneers of the Portuguese overseas expansion. But, do you already know the places that report us to this glorious past? Have you had the chance to walk through Belém and contemplate the amazing view to the river? If the answer is no, we think that this is going to be the perfect tour for you.

On the next 26th of September our Portuguese language school will show Belém to its students. As always, Indira Leão, our history teacher, will guide us on one of the most remarkable moments of the Portuguese History.

We’ll start in the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument is a creation of the 20th century, during the dictatorship of Salazar. It was used by the regime to rescue the Portuguese past as a way of promoting the patriotism among people. Here, we’ll have the opportunity to see important characters represented, such as the infant D. Henrique or Vasco da Gama.

After learning about the Padrão, we’ll walk to the Tower of Belém. Along the way, we’ll be surrounded by the great views of the Tagus river. The Tower was built in 1514 in the architectural Manueline style that became common during the reign of D. Manuel I. This architectural style is characterized by its sea elements, such as the ropes, the anchors and the corals. During the modern age period, the Tower was a fortress that had a defensive importance in the Tejo’s bank.

We’ll end our tour in the famous pastry shop that sells the delicious Pastéis de Belém. Prepare yourself: you’ll be addicted to them!

Don’t miss this tour and keep posted on our school events section in our website.