Monument to the Discoveries
Monument to the Discoveries is one of the most impressive monuments one can find in the beautiful area of Belem, a remarkable Lisbon district by Tagus River
Shaped as an impressive 50 meters high caravel prow, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) rises on the estuary of the Tagus River to honor the brave Portuguese who took part in the Age of Discovery and sailed away from this same place, facing the unknown to reveal new lands to the world.
Monument to the Discoveries, a symbol of a golden era
At the command of this ship made of stone is Henry the Navigator, holding a small caravel on his hands, looking out over the river. The sponsor of the Discoveries is sided by kings and queens, explorers, navigators, artists, scientists, cartographers and missionaries whose deeds granted them a place in Portugal’s history, during the 15th and 16th centuries.
In fact, one can see statues of Luis de Camões, the poet who celebrated the discoveries in the epic The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, discover of the sea route to India, Pedro Álvares de Cabral, discover of Brazil, Pedro Nunes, mathematician, São Francisco Xavier, missionary, and many others, comprising a total of 33 figures.
Monument to the Discoveries is complimented by an amazing mosaic on the pavement in front of it, featuring a world map with the routes of the several Portuguese navigators and a wind rose. This was a gift from South Africa in 1960.
The original structure of Monument to the Discoveries, thought by architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculpted by Leitão de Barros and Leopoldo de Almeida, was conceived for the World Fair in 1940. However, it was rebuilt in 1960, just in time for the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.
Nowadays the monument houses several exhibits as well as playful and pedagogical activities, such as creative writing workshops. The top of the Monument to the Discoveries offers you overwhelming views, either of the Tagus River or of the monumental area of Belem, enhanced by the Hieronymites Monastery and Belem Tower.