Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)

Lisboa, Belém - Lisboa
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Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or Monument to the Discoveries, is a monument that celebrates the Portuguese who took part in the Age of Discovery of the 15th and 16th centuries. It is located on the estuary of the Tagus river, in the Belém quarter, where in those days ships used to depart to their often unknown destinations.
The primitive monument that Cottinelli Telmo outlined and Leitão de Barros and Leopoldo de Almeida gave plastic and metal form, was raised in 1940 on the occasion of the Portuguese World Fair and was built with perishable materials. In 1960, for the commemorations marking 500 years since the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, it was rebuilt in concrete.
The monument consists of a 52 metre-high slab of concrete, carved into the shape of the prow of a ship symbolising a caravel, headed by the figure of Prince Henry the Navigator followed by a cortege of 32 leading figures from the Era of the Discoveries.
The façade facing down to the ground takes on the form of a cross decorated by the Sword of the Order of Aviz, the main financial sponsor of the Discovery voyages.
A small space within the monument hosts a multimedia exhibition on the history of Lisboa.
The pavement in front of the monument features a mosaic decoration that was a gift from South Africa in 1960, and shows world map with the routes of various Portuguese explorers and a wind rose.
On the top of the monument (reached via an elevator) one can enjoy wonderful panoramics over the Tagus river, the Belém quarter and all its main treasures, such as the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery.

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