District Belem, Lisbon, Portugal
The Digital Land plot at the charming district Belem. It was originally the location of Lisbon’s shipyards and harbours, and from here Portuguese 15th century explorers discovered sea routes to India, Africa and Brazil. Many of the historic monuments found in Belem either commemorate this glorious past, or were funded by the vast wealth that flowed into Portugal from the colonies.
Belem is filled with architectural sights, parks, tree-lined plazas and green open spaces, all of which line the cooling waters of the Tejo Estuary. By the riverside are two major landmarks, with a 15-minute walk between them, which both serve to remind visitors of Portugal’s significant role in the Age of Discoveries. The sumptuous Belem Tower was built in the 16th century as a fort to protect the coast from foreign attacks, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an example of Manueline architecture. The Monument to the Discoveries was built in 1960 and pays tribute to 33 prominent figures in Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, including Henry the Navigator and the poet Luís Vaz de Camões. The Monument to the Discoveries is not just a joy to look at, it also boasts a panoramic viewing platform at the top of the 52m high monument, which provides some of the best views over Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Tejo Estuary and Belem. On the plaza floor in front of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is map, which traces the extent of Portuguese influence around the world.
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