Belem-Tower

Embark on a journey through Belem Tower in Lisbon with my comprehensive guide. Uncover its captivating history, essential tips, and ticket details, setting the stage for a deeper exploration into its unique facets.

Belem Tower Visiting Guide

Belem-Riverside-Promenade

Strategically erected between 1514 and 1520 on the north bank of the Tagus River, Belém Tower stands as a pinnacle of architectural brilliance from the reign of D. Manuel I. A symbol of Portugal’s unique identity and cross-cultural dialogue, it earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1983.

Operating Hours: 10:00 – 17:30 (Last admission 30 min. before closing)

Location: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Postal Address: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos e Torre de Belém, Praça do Império, 1400-206 Lisboa GPS: Lat: 38.69158542388979 Long: -9.215978980064392

Opening Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Last ticket sale is at 5 p.m., last entry is at 5:30 p.m.) Closed on Mondays, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, June 13, and December 25.

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Inclusions:

  • Belém Tower entry and access to UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore four interior floors, including the King’s Hall
  • Panoramic views from the upper terrace
  • Access to exteriors, bulwark, bulwark terrace, South facade, governor’s chamber, king’s chamber, audience hall, the chapel, and tower terrace.

Visiting Hours:

  • October to April: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Last admission at 5 p.m.)
  • May to September: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Last admission at 5 p.m.)
  • Closed on Mondays, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, June 13, and December 25.

Location: Belém Tower is between Belém Gardens and the Tagus River, Brasília Avenue, 1400-598, Lisbon.

How to Reach Belém Tower:

  • Buses: 727, 28, 729, 714, and 751
  • Tram: 15
  • Train: Belém Station
  • Boat: Belém River Station

Ticket Prices:

Adults: €6 (US$6.50)

  • Combined with Jerónimos Monastery: €12 (US$13)
  • Combined with Jerónimos Monastery + Ajuda Palace: €16 (US$17.30)

Senior (Over 65): 50% discount

Youth Card: 50% discount

Children (Under 12): Free entrance

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Free Entrance: Enjoy free admission every first Sunday of each month.

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Torre De Belém Nearby Attractions

After exploring Torre de Belém, you can also visit these popular attractions within walking distance.

Belém (245 meters): Explore the charming surroundings of Belém, just a short distance from the Tower of Belém. The historic district is known for its picturesque streets, delightful cafes, and cultural richness. You will see Portuguese architecture throughout the neighborhood.

Padrao-Dos-Descobrimentos-2

Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon (919 meters): Marvel at the Monument to the Discoveries, situated less than a kilometer away. This cultural heritage site pays homage to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, featuring notable figures from that era.

Archaeology Museum (1 kilometer): Immerse yourself in history at the Archaeology Museum, located within a kilometer of the Tower of Belém. Discover artifacts and exhibits that unveil Portugal’s rich archaeological heritage.

Monastère des Hiéronymites, Lisbonne, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery / Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Jerónimos Monastery (1.1 kilometers): Visit the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just over a kilometer away. Explore its intricate Manueline architecture and delve into the historical significance of this monumental structure.

Museu-Nacional-dos-Coches-1

National Coach Museum (1.6 kilometers): Experience the elegance of the National Coach Museum, approximately 1.6 kilometers from Belém Tower. Admire a stunning collection of royal carriages and witness the opulence of Portugal’s transportation history.

These nearby attractions offer diverse cultural, historical, and artistic experiences, creating a compelling itinerary for visitors exploring the vicinity of Belém Tower in Lisbon.

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Belem Tower History

Situated in Lisbon, Portugal, the Belem Tower serves as a city gateway and a defense against potential threats from the Tagus. Initiated by King John II, it safeguarded the Jeronimos Monastery.

Francisco de Arruda, renowned for Moroccan fortresses, designed the tower between 1515 and 1521. Exhibiting Moorish influence in its delicate decorations, it embraces the Manueline style, evident in sculptural ornamentation.

In 1580, during the Spanish invasion, it passed to the Duke of Alba. Later, serving as a prison, its underground cells faced periodic flooding. Some argue its primary role was as an outpost due to its visibility.

Over time, the tower’s surroundings changed, with claims of seismic influence in 1755 altering its proximity to the shore. In the 1840s, under King Ferdinand II and Almeida Garrett’s influence, the tower underwent restoration, incorporating neo-Manueline elements.

Designated a national monument in 1910, Belem Tower is a testament to Portugal’s historical resilience.

Visiting Inside The Belem Tower to View The Style of Architecture

Torre_de_Belem

The tower’s entrance, adorned with Manueline motifs like the armillary sphere, leads through a porch. Throughout the structure, stone-carved twisted cords, forming a knot on the north facade, showcase intricate detailing.

Statues of Saint Vincent and Saint Michael the Archangel crown the tower, accompanied by arched windows. A Renaissance-style loggia graces the first floor’s southern face, adding a Venetian flair. Neo-Manueline shields embellish the merlons.

Standing at 35 meters, the Belem Tower boasts three floors and a terrace offering panoramic views. Sea-level storage housed gunpowder, while a spiral staircase granted access to upper floors.

The commander’s quarters occupied the first floor, and a chapel on the fourth floor, adorned with the order of Christ’s cross and the armillary sphere, completes the architectural narrative.

The Tower of Belém Gothic Architecture

A rhinoceros-shaped gargoyle on the western facade of the Tower of Belém adds a whimsical touch to the historical monument. This unique feature is not merely a decorative element but holds a fascinating connection to the exotic encounters of the 16th century.

In 1513, Portugal welcomed its first live rhinoceros, a creature from India. This event marked a significant cultural exchange between Europe and the distant lands explored during the Age of Discoveries.

The gargoyle, intricately carved to resemble this majestic creature, serves as a visual testament to the awe and wonder sparked by the arrival of such exotic animals in Portugal during this period of maritime exploration.

It encapsulates the spirit of curiosity and marvel that characterized the Renaissance era, highlighting the intersection of art, history, and the exploration of the unknown.

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Wrap-Up: Visiting The Tower of Belém

As you wrap up your exploration of the Tower of Belém, take a moment to reflect on the rich history and architectural brilliance encapsulated within its walls.

Before departing, ascend to the tower’s terrace to savor breathtaking panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. Capture the landscape’s beauty and appreciate this historic monument’s strategic significance.

Reflect on the unique experiences within the tower, from the King’s Hall to the intricate Manueline details. Consider the historical narratives on each floor, capturing Portugal’s maritime past.

Frequently Asked Questions

The rhinoceros gargoyle is a unique feature commemorating Portugal’s first encounter with a live rhinoceros from India in 1513, symbolizing the exotic discoveries of the Age of Exploration.

Yes, guided tours provide in-depth insights into the tower’s history, architecture, and cultural significance.

Yes, visitors can explore all three floors of the tower, including the King’s Hall and the upper terrace for panoramic views.

Generally, photography is allowed inside the tower, but it’s advisable to check for any specific restrictions or guidelines during your visit.

The tower is equipped with facilities for visitors with disabilities, including ramps and accessible areas. Contact the venue in advance for specific details.

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