Belém Tower, Lisbon, Portugal

Belém Tower is an incredibly ornate fortified structure completed in 1519 as a defensive tower at the mouth of the Tagus river. The tower was the brainchild of King John II during the era of conquest and the ‘age of discoveries , however he died before work began on the tower and the idea was revisited by King Manuel I twenty years later. Work began on the 30metre structure in 1515 and was completed in four years. The tower was the scene of a battle with the Spanish in 1580, after only a few hours of combat the Portuguese forces surrendered the tower, after this it was decided that the tower needed to be strengthened or a new fortified structure to be erected in its place. The dungeons were used as a prison for the next three hundred years, the higher levels were used as a customs office.

Belém Tower is a beautiful structure, the limestone reflects the sun and highlights its finer points. I would highly recommend taking the short train journey out to Belém to see the tower and also the nearby Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO world heritage sites.

GPS: 38.69162, -9.2159

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