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Discovering The Mysteries Of The Belem Tower In Lisbon Portugal

Belem Tower

Carved Balconies And Spectacular Turrets On The Tower Of Belem

The Tower Of Belem, in Lisbon Portugal, with its ornate exterior, carved ornamental decor, and extraordinary balconies has guarded Portugal since the sixteenth century. Its outstanding architecture is closely related to the Moorish architectural designs of that time.  The base has six sides with remarkable turrets on the corners.  This amazing tower was built to stand guard over Portugal, making an attack by sea, extremely difficult for its enemies to pull off.

Notice The Fine Details On The Base Of The Tower

The Tower was designed and authorized by King D. Joao II but built near the northern bank of the Targus, by Manuel I during the years between 1514 and 1520.  It was actually built on a small island that was close to the shore at that time.  This was a work of love, intended to protect a proud and important people from attacks coming by the way of the sea.

Notice The Intrigue Of The Almost Lacy Balconies And Elegant Turrets. 

The turrets have crosses on the tops of the turrets, seemingly to be a reflection back on the symbols of the Cross Of The Order Of Christ. The Order Of Christ grew out of what was the former Knights Templar  Order, abolished in 1312.

Shown Is The Tower Of Belem As It Jets Out Into The Tejo Estuary

As the clouds settle in on the Tejo Estuary, you can see the shapes and silhouettes of this beautiful fortress which sits on the northern bank of the Estuary. Notice the peacefulness of the water, the calm, and the mystique of the area. It is almost like the estuary, itself, knows it is in the safe hands of the fortress.

Close Up Of The Fine Details Of The Top Of The Turrets

Notice the beauty of the Lioz Limestone that the structure is constructed from.  The four-story tower is over 98 feet high. Also, the crosses of the Templars can be seen engraved into the limestone. if you look up from here you will see St. Vincent, the Patron Saint Of Lisbon, keep careful watch over this seafaring kingdom. On the other side the Archangel Michael, a warrior angel,  has two statues.

The Ocean Mote Under The Draw Bridge

The mote surrounded the Tower which is at the mouth of the Tagus River. Over the centuries this has often been referred to as “The Ceremonial Gateway to Lisbon.”

The Drawbridge Which Provides Access Over The Ocean Mote

The drawbridge still functions just as it always has. It is raised when the Tower Of Belem is closed to visitors and opened when the Tower is open.

Steps Facing The Tower Of Belem

Any exploration of the Tower begins on the steps which lead you to the drawbridge and entrance to the Tower. From this vantage point, it is also the best place to get a good look at the beautiful rhinoceros carved into the base of the tower. This was a gift from the Sultan of Cambay to Manuel 1.  This was a very unique but valuable gift to the Portuguese nation.

Outside Tiles Around The Tower Of Belem

The tiles outside the fortress are all handmade and cut in unique and diverse sizes, fitting nicely together for a sturdy walkway.

Looking Out From The Tower Observation Deck

As you look out from the observation deck of the tower, you are eye to eye with this beautiful canopy of trees.  It almost seems as if you are so high that you can see forever.

This fortified tower is a major monument and one of the many iconic symbols of the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon has many such symbols and all tell a part of the early history and culture of Lisbon.

Things To Do In Lisbon

Other articles we published on this area of Lisbon are:

Torre de Belem Or The Belem Tower In Lisbon Portugal

Photo of the Day ~ Christo Rei Statue Says Obbrigado Or Thank You at:

Credits And Sources

 Note: Facts regarding the Tower of Belem were researched from the government site —

and the World Monument Fund at :

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