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Lisbon Walking Tour of Belem - Page 2
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The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos was built from the money of the spice trade and the trade brought in vast amounts of taxes resulting in the grandest monastery in Portugal. Spectacular high ceilings supported by spindly columns and the two leveled cloisters around tranquil court yards, the first of its kind around await inside (entrance €4).
The grand Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The grandest sight of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos can be viewed without purchasing the entrance ticket, the ornate main entrance, with St. Mary of Bethlehem (Belem) the patron saint of the monastery, blessing the voyages as they departed from the old harbour.
Enjoy a stroll through the monastery gardens (Praça do Imperio) and observe, on public holidays and weekends, Portuguese family life come out to the parks. To the east of the park is the modern (and perhaps ugly and out of keeping with the areas historical significance) Centro Cultural de Belem which was built, controversial for its construction cost, for Portugal's 1992 presidency of the EU. The buildings now hosts traveling exhibits ranging from opera to ballet and the Museu do Design.
The walking tour heads back to the Discoveries Monument and follows the river front west passed the old light house. A detour is required to pass round the marina (Doca do Bom Sucesso). The marina is one of the remain parts of the “Exhibition of the Portuguese” world hosted in 1940 to divert attention from world war II and try to maintain Portugal’s neutrality. There is a handy complex close to the marina with good toilets and an expensive coffee shop.
The Statue of Gago Coutinho Sacadura Cabral Plane
A monument to Gago Coutinho and his plane, the first pilot to fly from Portugal to Brazil, lies just behind the coffee shop. To the west of the small green is Belem Tower, which once stood in the centre of the Tejo estuary but due to seismic activity and siltation has caused the outer bank to reach the edge of the tower. The tower is well worth the entrance fee of €3 to marvel at the ornate stone carving and the first stone depiction of a rhinoceros in Europe.
The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar Lisbon
The final sight is the monument dedicated to the fallen solders of the Portuguese army. The tram back to Baixa & Rossio leaves from outside the café Pastéis de Belem and another excuse for a cake and coffee.
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