The Belém Tower was built in homage to the patron Saint of Lisboa: São Vicente, in the place where was once anchored the Grande Nau (Big Ship), that combined firepower with the São Sebastião tower on the other bank of the river.
Located in the right bank of the Tagus river, where once existed a beach (the Belém beach) and was originally surrounded by water in all its perimeter.
Today incorporated in the dry land, the Tower of Belém is one of the greatest highlights in Portugal.
Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, the Belém Tower is the crown jewel of Manueline architecture.
The construction was initiated in 1514 and finalized in 1520, under the project of the architect Francisco de Arruda along with Boitaca, and ordered by king Manuel the 1st.
Symbol of the Royal prestige, the decoration boasts the Manueline iconography, conjugated along with naturalists elements.
The monument reflects oriental and Islamic influences, that characterized the Manueline style and indicate the end of the medieval tradition of keep towers, containing the first bulwark for artillery in the country.
The most highly decorated side of the Tower is south facing, with its narrow balcony.
On the cloistral wall that rises above the bulwark, there is a sculptured image of the Virgin with Child dating back to the 18th century, forming the prow of the tower.
The Gothic interior, under the terrace, that once served as a prison, is very austere, composed by two main elements: the tower and the bulwark.
The visit to the interior of the Belém Tower provides astonishing landscapes over the Tagus river and the charming western side of Lisboa.