The world's explorers in stone
Across from Jeronimos Monastery, reached via an underpass by its gardens, is
the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary
of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.
It represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, with sculptures of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, following Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow holding a small vessel. The only female is queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Henry the navigator, the brain of the discoveries.
Inside is an exhibition space with temporary exhibits, an interesting film about the city of Lisbon, and an elevator that takes visitors to the top for some bird's-eye views of Belem and its monuments.
The pavement in front of the monument is decorated with a mosaic that was offered by the South African government in 1960, representing a compass with the map of the world charting the routes taken by the Portuguese explorers.
Get reduced admission to the Discoveries Monument and ride Lisbon's metro, buses, and trams for FREE with the Lisboa Card.
How to Visit
Where: Avenida de Brasilia, Belem
How: Tram 15
When: 10AM-6PM (Closed Mondays)
Monastery - A World Heritage monument; Vasco da Gama's resting place.
Belem Tower - The city's icon; a symbol of the Age of Discovery.
Berardo Museum - World-class collection of modern art.
Coaches Museum - The world's largest collection of magnificent royal coaches.
Maritime Museum - The story of Portugal's pioneering role in world exploration at the sea.
Archaeology Museum - Archaeological finds from over the centuries.
Belem Cultural Center - Modern cultural center with regular exhibitions and events.
Tropical Garden - Beautiful garden with rare plants from around the world.
Belem Palace - The home of Portugal's President.
Memoria Church - Elegant neoclassical church.
Ajuda Palace - An extravagant royal palace.
Ajuda Botanical Garden - Beautiful gardens overlooking the river.
25 de Abril Bridge - Golden Gate's twin sister.
Docas - Attractive dock area with cosmopolitan bars and restaurants.
Monument to Christ - Christ opens His arms to the city.