One of the Portuguese capital’s, Lisbon, symbol is the remarkable Belem Tower. It’s located in the district of Santa Maria de Belem. The tower is a fortification tower that was built back in the 16th century and located on the mouth of Teju River. The architects who made the tower are Francisco de Arruda and King Manuel I. It’s an interesting fact that an entire architecture style from this specific historical period was named by the king – manuelin style. If we have to describe it somehow, we should say it’s a kind of Portuguese version of the classical Gothic style, but with more magnificent decors and ornaments in seaside theme. Belem Tower is one of the most fascinating representatives of manuelin architecture style.
Belem Tower was built to honor Vasco Da Gama’s expedition. It symbolizes Portuguese might during the epoch of the Great geographical discoveries. In 1983rd year the tower was included in the List for world cultural heritage protected by UNESCO.
What should we on mandatory see?
Each visit of Belem Tower should start from the stairs that are located in front of the construction. It’s from where you can check out the façade and see the two statues of Archangel Mikhail and Saint Vincent, who’s by the way, Lisbon’s patron, as well as the tower, itself. You will also enjoy some beautifully sculptured balconies and splendid limestone ornaments. The tower can be divided into two parts. One of them is the bastion, which is made in an irregular hexagonal form, while the other one is a 4-floor tower, which is raised at the north side of the bastion.
Before starting your trial of climbing the tower up, check out its south façade. It’s has the richest decoration from all of the tower parts. This façade used to welcome the sea-farers, who entered the mouth of Teju River. The façade used to also provide an access to the inner side of the construction.
The tower is hexagonal and on each of the edges there’s a tower in Moor style. In these towers the weapons used to be positioned to protect the entire Belem Tower. The dungeon of the tower used to serve the role of prison. On the terrace right above the basement there’s a statue of Saint Mother of God with the infant Jesus. She’s, by the way, the one that keeps safe the sea-farers according to the legend. Some of the most interesting places here are the royal chambers on the second floor. The balconies with refined wood-craves are extremely impressive.
The governor’s room
It’s where the octagonal outlet of the reservoir is located to preserve the rain water. It’s where the winding stairs are also placed to eventually lead to the top of the tower. The name of the tower probably comes from the fact that in 16th century the tower has its own governor and his role used to be extremely prestige for the epoch.
The royal room
This room leads to the balcony at the south façade of the tower and it has eight rounded holes in the ground. The garrison used to defense against the attacks made by the enemies either with shooting, or with projectiles. The view from this room, as well as from the balcony, is totally breath-taking.
The terrace of the tower
It’s placed on the top of the tower. You can enjoy some lovely view of the mouth of Teju River, as well as of the cultural center based in Belem and Jeronimos Monastery.
What should we know before visiting Belem Tower?
- During the hot tourist season – from June to August – buy a ticket for the Belem Tower via internet in advance in order to avoid waiting on the queue for a long time.
- The tower has different working times for the summer and the winter season. Besides, it’s not opened for visits during some holidays. Check all of these in advance before your visit.
- You can reach the tower by train. In this case you should get off Belem station. You can also reach it by bus with any of these lines: 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751, as well as by tram 15 or by ferry. If you are in a group of several people, it’s completely affordable to get a taxi.
- Even if you have Lisbon pass, you should get a free ticket at the entrance. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter it.
- The best pictures of Belem Tower are made at sunset.
- If you want to avoid the big crowds of tourists, come early in the morning or before the end of the tower working time
- To look inside the tower at a full value and in details, you will need around 45 minutes
- During each first Sunday of the month the entrance for the tower is free of charge
Types of tickets:
- Individual ticket – it’s only for the Belem Tower
- Combo ticket – entrance for the Belem Tower, for Jeronimos Monastery and the National archeology museum
- Ticket for fast entrance – you will not have to wait on the long queues with such a ticket. Besides, it does not require from you to pay any fee for booking or reservations in advance.
There are offers for Belem Tower tours with guides, who will meet you with the history of the place.
Special -50% discounts for:
- Visitors above 65 years old
- Family ticket: 1 adult + minimum 2 kids under 18 years old
- Owners of youth cards (youths under 26 years old)
- Student card owners
Who can enter Belem Tower 100% for free?
- Kids up to 12 years old
- Journalists – only in case of a notification for a visit made at least 7 days in advance and with the requirement to show their identification cards at the entrance
- Students, teachers, school girls and boys – with reservation in advance
- People with at least 60% disability with one companion
- Owners of Lisbon pass
Belem Tower is accessible for people with reduced mobility and sight damages.