TOUR INFO - LISBON
INFO: AGE OF DISCOVERY
BELEM TOWER: Built on the northern bank of the Tagus between 1514 and 1520 as part of the Tagus estuary defence system, the Tower of Belém is one of the architectural jewels of the reign of Manuel I (King Manuel I The Fortunate – 15th century).
In the tower as a whole one can distinguish two distinct volumes and military architectural models: the mediaeval keep tower and the modern bulwark which, as it contained two artillery levels, allowed for long-distance cannon firing as well as ricochet shots over the water.
The Tower of Belém is a cultural reference, a symbol of the specificity of Portugal at the time, including its privileged exchange with other cultures and civilisations. As a protector of Portuguese individuality and universality, the tower saw its role confirmed in 1983 when it was classified by UNESCO as "Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
- JERONIMOS MONASTERY: The Jerónimos Monasteryor Hieronymites Monastery, is a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome near the Tagus river in the parish of Belém, in the Lisbon Municipality, Portugal. It was secularised on 28 December 1833 by state decree and its ownership transferred to the charitable institution, Real Casa Pia de Lisboa. The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. It was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém, in 1983. Also inaugurated by K. Manuel I, it took 100 years to completion.
- PASTEL DE NATA: It is a Portugueseegg tart pastry, originally from Portugal. Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon. These monks were originally based in France where these pastries could be found in local bakeries. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes, such as nuns' habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.
Next up we cross the San Francisco lookalike bridge “25th of April”, named after the date of the Portuguese revolution. We set course for the gigantic monument across the river, called Christ King. We’ll climb all the way up and enjoy a stunning view of the whole city. Upon descent we have the option of having lunch in a number of restaurants across the river.
- 25 DE ABRIL BRIDGE: It was inaugurated on August 6, 1966, and a train platform was added in 1999. Because it is a suspension bridge and has similar coloring, it is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridgein San Francisco, US. It was built by the American Bridge Company which constructed the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, but not the Golden Gate. With a total length of 2,277 m, it is the 32nd largest suspension bridge in the world. Until 1974, the bridge was named Salazar Bridge. The name "25 de Abril" commemorates the Carnation Revolution.
- CHRIST KING: The Sanctuary of Christ the King is a Catholicmonument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon situated in Almada, in Portugal. It was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, after the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited that monument. The project was inaugurated on 17 May 1959, while Portugal was ruled by the authoritarian President of the Council of Ministers António de Oliveira Salazar who gave his final permission for the project. The giant statue in cement was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II.
- LUNCH: Sugerir Atira-te ao Rio (25€/pax) ou Ponto Final (20€/pax). Restaurantes um ao lado do outro com boa vista para Lisboa.
After fully resting it’s time to head back to Lisbon city center. Here we’ll start by taking a ride through the historic neighborhoods of the city: Bairro Alto, Baixa and the Moorish Alfama. (Park: Portas do Sol)
- ALFAMA: Alfama is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon, and is a delightful maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses, which lead up the steep hill from the Tejo Estuary to the castle. Contained within this diverse and charismatic district are many historic buildings including the Se Cathedral, the Castle, the National Pantheon and Saint Anthony’s Church. Originally, Alfama was situated outside of the city walls and was associated with poverty and squalor, where only the poor and disadvantaged resided. As Lisbon grew into an important port, the district retained its lowly status as the tough and deprived district where sailors and dock workers lived. Today, Alfama has shrugged off its grim reputation, being transformed into a fashionable artisan district, while still retaining its character and dilapidated charm.
After checking out some of our oldest neighborhoods we leave the car behind. We begin our climb towards the castle “Castelo de S. Jorge”. On the way up take the opportunity to check out our main cathedral, “Sé de Lisboa”. The view from the castle is something as you learn about the city’s history since its foundation in the 8th century. Many rank it as one of the world’s longest founded cities. This part of the tour is great to get a feel of Portuguese culture and “local Lisbon”.
- CASTELO S. JORGE: Saint George's Castle can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Its oldest parts date from the 6th century, when it was fortified by the Romans, Visigoths, and eventually the Moors. It served as a royal Moorish residence, until Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, captured it in 1147 with the help of northern European crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. It was later dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of England, commemorating the Anglo-Portuguese pact dating from 1371, and became the royal palace until another one (that was destroyed in the Great Earthquake) was built in today's Comercio Square.
SÉ DE LISBOA: Founded in 1147, Lisbon Cathedral is one of the city’s great landmarks and also one of the symbols of the Christian Reconquest of the territory.
The Cathedral was built when the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, conquered the city from the Moors, in 1147. Previously, the site was occupied by a Muslim mosque.
In architectural terms, it was originally built in accordance with the Romanesque style of that time, a style that can also be seen at the old cathedral in Coimbra, although in the following centuries it underwent a major transformation with additions being made in the Gothic style, most notably in the case of the deambulatory, built at the orders of Dom Afonso IV (1291-1357) to act as his family pantheon.
Amongst the most notable features of the inside of the cathedral are the private chapel of Bartolomeu Joanes, an important member of the bourgeoisie in mediaeval Lisbon, and the irregularly shaped cloister, an innovative work in the Portuguese Gothic style, built at the orders of the king Dom Dinis (1261-1325).
In the 17th and 18th centuries, alterations were made in the baroque style, especially affecting the decoration of the altars and chancel. In the first half of the 20th century, work was carried out to restore the cathedral’s mediaeval aspect.
By the end of the day, if there is still energy and time, we like to recommend one of our amazing viewpoints. There are quite a few great spots for sunset drinks with local music being played. A very good option to take some more pictures of our beautiful city!
TORRE DE BELEM: Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor, the Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland.
It's a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery, often serving as a symbol of the country, and UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage monument.
Built in the Manueline style, it incorporates many stonework motifs of the Discoveries, sculptures depicting historical figures such as St. Vincent, and an exotic rhinoceros that inspired Dürer's drawing of the beast.
The architect, Francisco de Arruda, had previously worked on Portuguese fortifications in Morocco, so there are also Moorish-style watchtowers and other Moorish influences. Facing the river are arcaded windows, delicate Venetian-style loggias, and a statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming, a symbol of protection for sailors on their voyages.
JERONIMOS: The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a highly ornate monastery that is situated in the Belem district of western Lisbon. This grand religious building was historically associated with the early sailors as explorers, as it was from here that Vasco da Gama spent his last night before his voyage to the Far East.
For visitors the Monastery of Jeronimos is one of the most decorative churches of Portugal. The southern entrance is a bound by a 32 meter high stone portal that incorporates carvings of the saints, complex shaped pinnacles and other decorative features. Inside the spindly columns support massive vaulted ceilings and lead to an ornamental alter. The fine stone detail extends into the monastery, which is to the rear of the church and is centered around a unique two level cloister. The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is rightly one of most popular tourist sights of Lisbon.