One of my favourite Monuments in Lisbon

Some time back I posted this photo:


I think that most of you liked the photo of the monument and thus, some more info: The Monument to the Discoveries is next to the huge Mariners Compass with in its centre a map of the world and all Portugal’s discoveries. The mosaic was a gift from South Africa in 1960. Very nice present, indeed.


Padrão dos Descobrimentos , Monument to the Discoveries is a monument that celebrates the Portuguese who took part in the 15th and 16th century, the Age of Discovery. It is located on the estuary of the Tagus river in the Belém parish ofLisbon, where ships departed to their often unknown destinations. Belém today, is an area of leisure and recreation where historical monuments (the Torre of Belém!) can be found next to modern museums, contemporary art exhibitions and busy cafes. The monument consists of a 52 metre-high slab of concrete, carved into the shape of the prow of a ship. The side that faces away from the river features a carved sword stretching the full height of the monument.


It was conceived by Portuguese artists, architecht Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida as a temporary (TEMPORARY!) beacon of the Portuguese World Fair in 1940.


The original monument was constructed with rather poor materials, but it was rebuilt in concrete in 1960, in time for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of King Henry the Navigator, the sponsor of the Portuguese Discoveries. He is the figure at the tip of the monument, looking out over the river. Behind Henry, on both sides of the monument, are statues of other great people of that era, including explorers, cartographers, artists, scientists and missionaries. Just to name a few: Vasco da Gama (discoverer of the sea route to India), Pedro Álvares Cabral (discoverer of Brazil), Fernão Magalhães (crossed the Pacific in 1520), the writer Camões, Henry’s mother, Philippa of Lancaster and Alfonso V of Portugal (no, not the nasty one who had Ines murdered); thirty in total.


The Monument to the Discoveries represents a romantic idealisation of the Portuguese past that was typical during the regime of dictator Salazar. Read Carnations got rid of that …uh … he wasn’t nice, but I don’t want to swear, damn it, not even when talking about a mean ass called Salazar.


PS Just in case you would like to offer my book, The Sleeping Madonna, as a Christmas gift: €17 (PayPal or credit card) postage, dedication and signature included.   Not too many copies left.


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