Lisbon and World Heritage Sites

May 25 08:16 2011 Max Muller Print This Article

If you are a tourist or visitor interested in European history,Guest Posting whatever you do, don’t miss seeing the two places named by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites: Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.

In 1755 an estimated 85% of Lisbon was destroyed by a massive earthquake, followed by fires and a tsunami.  The Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery were two of the old buildings that survived.

The ‘Torre de Belém’ is a building of the Portuguese Late Gothic style.  It is built on a small island on the edge of the shore of the Tagus River.  It stands over 30 meters or 4 storeys in height.  It is built out of limestone and gleams whitely as a proud symbol of Lisbon to people approaching from the sea.

The building was completed in 1521 and was originally intended as a defense against hostile invaders from the sea coming into the port.  Today it serves as an impressive gateway into Portugal’s capital.  Its other name is the ‘Tower of St Vincent’ in honour of the patron saint of Lisbon.

Most tourists find the freguesia of Belém an irresistible attraction.  This bairro or neighbourhood of the city is rich with history and beautiful old buildings; well worth spending some time there.

One of the greatest eras of Portugal’s past was the ‘Age of Discovery’; the age of Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomeu Diaz, Ferdinand Magellan, and Vasco da Gama.  This is the part of the city where you will re-discover them.

Jerónimos Monastery is, if anything, even more famous than the tower.  It is another example of the same highly valued ‘Manueline’ style of architecture.

In the middle of the 15th century, Henry the Navigator had a hermitage ‘Ermida do Restelo’ built on this site, and this is where the great seamen used to come to pray before sailing.  This is where Vasco da Gama and his men prayed all night before starting their famous voyage to India via the Cape of Good Hope in 1497.

However, when he returned, it was to find construction beginning on a new monastery to commemorate his success.  With various interruptions along the way, the building took 50 years to complete.

It is an exquisite limestone building and houses

    Magnificently ornate portals.

    The Monastery of St Jeronimo.
    The Church of Santa Maria.
    The tombs and sarcophagi of several members of royalty and Vasco da Gama.
    The National Archaeological Museum, or ‘Museu Nacional de Arqueologia’.
    If the famous voyages have caught your imagination, you must not miss the ‘Maritime Museum’, also housed in the Monastery.  It holds an incredible 17,000 items to take you back to the times of the great explorers.  You will even see replicas and models of the memorable ships that carried them.

Among the relics and memorabilia, you will also be able to see other notable events in history as well as one of the world's largest collection of 16th century maps and replicas of maps, showing the world as it was known in those days.

A short way from Jeronimos Monastery you will find the ‘Discoveries Monument’.  This was built to commemorate the death of Prince Henry the Navigator more than 500 years ago.  It is built in the shape of a ship and is full of information, a film, and memorials to the great navigators, explorers and others involved with the voyages of discoveries.

While visiting these sites of historical interest you do need a Lisbon cheap hotel where you can relax. Finding an accommodation in Lisbon city center is recommended so that you are close to the reliable transport system that you need to reach all the popular tourist sights in the city.

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Max Muller
Max Muller

If you are a tourist in Lisbon,
hotel in lisbon city centre
will provide the best
accommodation lisbon

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