Friday 1 July 2022

Belem - Lisbon

Out of the ten days we spent in Lisbon, three were spent in Belem,  mainly because the art. The Berardo Collection at the Centro Cultural de Belem is outstanding as were the temporary exhibitions. But, there's so much more: the monastery was worth a visit, and the Jardim do Ultramar is one of the nicest parks I have visited - this warranted two visits. And, of course, there is MAAT with its sumptuous modern building.

With its maritime history and attractive riverside location, Belem is one of Lisbon's most popular suburbs. It was from Belem that Vasco da Gama set sail for India in 1497. The monastery subsequently built here stands as a testament to his triumphant discovery of a sea route to the Orient, which initiated the beginning of a Portuguese golden age. 


We visited the monastery during our first visit (post to follow).

During our second visit most of this part of the town was closed off because the president of Luxemburg was visiting

which involved red carpets

speeches, (fortunately most of the fanfare was over when we arrived, and this is just a tourist messing about)

and military parades.

The small park across the road from the monastery is very pleasant

and we spent a few relaxed minutes here.

This pavilion was a gift from the Thai government on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral relations between Thailand and Portugal.

The Centro Cultural de Belem is near this park

While MAAT, is by the riverfront on the other side of the park. MAAT consists of two buildings: an early 20th century power station which has now been converted to a museum

and the fabulous, stunning modern building designed by British architect Amanda Levete.


The riverside walk is very pleasant - I took these photographs while we were walking from MAAT to the Tower of Belem

The river was quite choppy that day

Padrao dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries. It's a 54m high carvel-shaped slab of concrete erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.
Just in front of the monument the marble pavement is decorated with a map of the world charting the routes taken by the great Portuguese explorers.

A large and detailed statue of Henry appears at the head of a line of statues that feature King Alfonso V, Luis de Camoes, Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese heroes. 

More statues are carved on the other side

We continued on our way

There are lots of places to sit here

The museum of basket weaving

The old lighthouse

A hotel and spa with a bar/restaurant

interesting shutters on the windows

a marina

We could now see Torre de Belem in the distance

another park.

We could see the Tower at the end of the park

an old plane in the park

The Tower,

and by it, a pleasant-looking beach.

We visited the Tower and then, because the bus or tram that would take us back to Lisbon was always extremely crowded, we decided 

to take a tuk tuk. This is our driver.


It was an extremely bumpy ride back to Lisbon, and we were glad that there were seat belts. Highly enjoyable though, and memorable.

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