Belém (pronounced be-lãe) is a riverside district, home to Lisbon’s finest monuments and museums, some of which, such as the peculiar Torre de Belém, are testimony of Portugal’s maritime history.
It was from Belém that the explorer Vasco da Gama set sail in 1497 to a pioneering sea voyage to India, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and reaching Calicut in 1498.
The Unesco-listed Mosteiro dos Jerónimos was commissioned by Dom Manuel I, the Portuguese monarch at the time, to mark the important discovery.
Opposite the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, connected by an underground passageway, stands by the river the caravel-shaped Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). Just a short toddle west along the river, you’ll find the peculiar Torre de Belém built to defend the River Tejo.
The Ajuda neighbourhood stands northeast of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Ajuda is home to a palace (former royal residence) and a botanical garden.
Located about 8 km from central Lisbon, getting to Belém is easy by tram 15.
|1. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos||4. Padrão dos Descobrimentos||7. Museu dos Coches|
|2. Museu de Marinha||5. Torre de Belém||8. Palácio da Ajuda|
|3. Museu Berardo||6. Pastéis de Belém||9. Jardim Botânico|