Published: February 11th 2012July 15th 2011
After a few hours of downtown exploration, we drive eastward on Ave. 24 de Juhlo towards Belem. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belém: Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery
. Built as a fortified lighthouse in 16th century, Torre de Belém was designed to guard the entrance to the port and the nearby Monastery. This place was where many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery. In its golden age, treasures – porcelains, silks, rubies, pearls – and spices – turmeric, ginger, pepper, cumin – arrived from far-flung corners of its empire in the East. From the West, Portuguese imported coffee, gold, diamonds, and red dyewood. Back then, Portuguese Maritime Empire made Lisbon the commerce center for Europe, Africa, and Asia.
After walking around the tower ground admiring the intricate carvings on the tower walls, we drive towards the Monastery. It took 50 years to complete the construction of this 16th century expansive Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It was erected as a monument to commemorate the successful voyage of Vasco da Gama to India. The monastery features Manueline architecture. It is also known as Portuguese late Gothic. It blends Late Gothic architecture with Spanish
Plateresque, Italian Urban architecture, Flemish and Maritime elements. Next to the Monastery is Belém’s main street Rue de Belém. We stop here to visit the famous 160-year-old pastry shop to enjoy the delicious, fresh from the oven, Portuguese custard tart made with flaky pastry and dusted with cinnamon powder...@driving-vacation More pictures...
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