My travels to Portugal in 2013 – part 2
After a wild night drinking cherry liqueurs and partying with the girls today I was going to go to Belém. This district is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its history and has many attractions such as the Torre de Belém, and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery).
My first attraction was the National Palace of Belém which have previously been the official residence of Portuguese monarchs. It is now the residence of the president of the Portuguese Republic.
At the National Palace of Belém I was eager to inspect the guards to see if they match the standards of my own troops.
On the wateredge is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries).
Located along the Tagus River where ships departed to explore and trade with India and Orient, the monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.
The main statue on the monument is of Henry the Navigator, holding a model of a carrack. On either side of the ramps of the monument are a total of 33 figures from the history of the Discoveries.
This monument was inaugurated on 9 August 1960.
The monument is a popular tourists attraction.
For 3 Euros tourists can take the lift up to the top of the monument.
From the top views of the Tagus River, the Belém neighbourhood and its many attractions, including the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery.
It was windy up here for my cotton hair.
The viewing platform is six stories high.
The monastery was classified in 1983 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém.
Originally, the home for the Hieronymite religious order, was built by Henry the Navigator around 1459.
The monastery withstood the 1755 Lisbon earthquake without too much damage.
In 2007, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed at the monastery, laying down the basis for the reform of the European Union.
Next on my sightseeing was the Belém Tower. The Torre de Belém was built party to defend the monastery and guard the entrance to the port.
It was built in the early 16th century. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river.
The tower is on the registry of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. This list is of the cultural wonders located in Portugal and was compiled by the Ministry of Culture.
It cost 5 Euros to go inside the tower. Because of the single narrow staircase to the top of the tower, the authorities operates a traffic light system for climbing the stairs to avoid conjestion. Not all tourists follows this and jams do occur.
My sightseeing was over and time for a quick beer or two before heading to the airport and back home to the SAS special forces barracks.
Back to work with the special forces and secret missions behind enemy lines.
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