The Portuguese Discoveries in Belém

Wed, 24.07.2019

The Portuguese Discoveries and the Pastéis de Belém

On the last 24th of July, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour about the Portuguese Discoveries in Belém. Our history teacher, Indira Leão, accompanied us.

We did a marvellous trip by tram since Praça da Figueira until Belém. As soon as we arrived, we could contemplate the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a masterpiece of Manueline’s architecture.

Then, we went to Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument was inaugurated in 1960 with the architecture project of Cottinelli Telmo and the sculptures of Leopoldo de Almeida. The Padrão was built to promote the nationalist ideals of the Portuguese dictatorship. Besides, the sculptures represent Portuguese intellectuals of the 15th and 16th centuries. Indira told us the stories of some of these intellectuals such as Vasco de Gama, who was the first European to reach India. Moreover, the monument has Pedro Álvares Cabral, the explorer who started the Portuguese colonization in Brazil or João de Barros a chronicler. Overall, the majority of the Portuguese intellectuals represented in Padrão had some role in the Portuguese Discoveries. However, in the middle of so many men, there is the only woman: Filipa de Lencastre. She was the mother of the Infant D. Henrique and mother of the future Portuguese explorers.

After, we walked we walked near the Tejo until the Torre de Belém. It is another example of the Manueline’sarchitecture, common during the reign of D. Manuel I. The tower was built between 1514 until 1520 to protect the bar of the Tejo’s river. Surprisingly, in one of the sides of the tower, we could identify the head of a rhino!

Finally, we tasted the delicious Pastéis de Belém! We loved it!

Below, you can check out our photos.

Going back to the period of the Portuguese Discoveries

Portugal was the first European country to explore other continents. All started in 1415 with the Portuguese conquest of Ceuta. Since then, Portugal began a new period of its History popular known as “Discoveries”. This will be the next topic that we’ll unveil on our next walking tour on the 24th of July.

Our students will be guide by Indira Leão, our history teacher. We’ll go to Belém because it was the place where the Portuguese ships departed to the New World. By the way, Belém grew economically with the “Portuguese Discoveries”.

We’ll start at Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument with 56 meters high was built in 1940 for the Portuguese World Exhibition. Moreover, the current Padrão is a replica, erected in 1960, for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of the Infant D. Henrique. The architectural design of the Padrão was projected by Cottinelli Telmo and the sculptures by Leopoldo de Almeida. So, the sculptures represent Portuguese intellectuals of the 15th and 16th centuries, such as Afonso de Albuquerque or Fernão de Magalhães.

Then, we’ll walk until the Torre de Belém. This tower built between 1514 and 1520 during the reign of D. Manuel I protected the bar of Lisbon. Its unique architectural style is called Manuelino, as a homage to the Portuguese king. Considered the main symbol of the “Portuguese Discoveries”, the Torre was classified by UNESCO as “Cultural Heritage of All Humanity”. Therefore,we’ll have time to admire the tower from the outside.

Finally, after our exciting walking tour, we’ll taste the delicious pastéis de Belém!

Above all, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to know one of the most important places of the Portuguese History!

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