The 50th Anniversary Renovation of Lisbon’s Discoveries Monument

Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon

Lisbon’s Discoveries Monument will close for a few months after this summer in order to be renovated for its 50th anniversary. That will be in 2010, and when it reopens it will be revitalized with a new cultural program focusing even more on the Age of Discovery. This monument featuring gigantic sculptures of Portugal’s famous explorers was unveiled in 1960 on the 500th anniversary of Prince Henry the Navigator’s death (the leading figure on the monument), although an identical but temporary monument had already been standing on this site in 1940 when Portugal hosted a special exhibition called “The Portuguese World Expo.” In 1985 an elevator was added inside to take visitors to the top, a terrace offering bird’s-eye views of Lisbon’s most emblematic monuments and the river. Today it’s one of the city’s most visited and photographed landmarks, including the pavement around it which features a large map of the world showing the territories around the globe discovered and/or colonized by Portugal.