Just as with the photo essay I published last week on the Jeronimos Monastery I thought I would do the same for the Belem Tower (Torre de Belem), another striking attraction in the Belem parish (Belem is a municipality of Lisbon and is only a short tram ride away from the city center). The tower was built in the early 16th century and was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River as well as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. It is composed of a bastion (a projecting part of a fortification built at an angle to the line of a wall, so as to allow defensive fire in several directions) and the 100 foot, four story tower. I can just imagine ships sailing into Lisbon centuries ago and this stunning structure being the first thing that they saw.
While the below photo has no stunning qualities to it,
I wanted to include it anyways since it was so creepy.
Where prisoners were housed in the tower. I can’t imagine being there for months on end…
Can you spot the rhinoceros below? It took me a while to find it…The decorative carved, twisted rope and elegant knots are a reminder of Portugal’s great nautical past and are a common feature in the Manueline style of architecture.
More in this series!