The Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon

The Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon
The Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon

This is one of the most emblematic monuments not only in Lisbon, but in the entire Portuguese country. And it is that with this work carried out in 1960 by the architect Jose Angelo Telmo and the sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida they wanted to pay tribute to all the great men that the Portuguese country has given throughout history. And even the fifth centenary of the death of one of those great men was what sponsored this work, since in 1960 it was celebrated the 500th anniversary of the death of King Henry the Navigator, the great promoter of the maritime power that Portugal became.


Monument to the discoverers in Lisbon

For that reason and because the great achievements of the country's past have always been related to the seas, the memorial is shaped like the prow of a ship, which is further aided by its location on the shores of the wide channel of the Tajo River, now very close to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. In other words, it is located very close to what would be the port of Lisbon, which coincides with the current Belém neighborhood.

That ship that it evokes could not be other than a caravel, the quintessential ship of the Portuguese splendor era. And it is commanded by Henry the Navigator himself at the end. And accompanying him is the best in Portuguese history. Some are alsokings, but cartographers and of course the most famous sailors abound. In short, up to 33 characters represented with authentic individual sculptures, although at the same time they acquire full meaning as a whole.

The most prominent of are, in addition to King Henry himself, the monarch Alfonso V and the Duke of Coimbra, Pedro of Portugal that flanks it. And from there characters like the sailors Vasco de Gama or Ferdinand Magellan, and others like Pedro Alvares Cabral who is considered the discoverer from Brazil.

There are many other lesser-known names, and scientific facets, such as mathematicians or cosmographers. But there are also relevant artists, such as the painter Nuno Gonçalves of the fifteenth century or the writer Luis de Camoes who wrote the famous Os Lusiadas, a work epic that evokes Vasco da Gama's first trip to the Far East, and that the author wrote when he himself had returned from those remote lands.

Curiously, this enormous Monument to the Discoveries which exceeds 50 meters in height was conceived as something temporary, since it was first erected in 1940 as part of an Exhibition of the Portuguese world. However, it was later installed permanently. So it has become a very visited place, and not only to admire its sculptures. Also to enter its interior, since there is an elevator that leads to the upper part, converted into an excellent viewpoint.

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