Compared to the other important symbol of the Age of Discoveries, Jerenimos Monastery, this monument is quite new. At first, it constructed for the World Fair in 1940 but this first version with the wood and plaster structure did not survive to the day. The current version that is made of limestone was made in 1960, on the 500th anniversary of the death of “Henry the Navigator”.
The Historical Background of “The Padrão dos Descobrimentos”
The key figure on “The Padrão dos Descobrimentos” is Infante Dom Henrique, also known as “Henry the Navigator”. However, Henrique was not really a navigator, the title was attributed to him later in time by historians after the 19th century. Even though not voyaging himself, Henrique funded many expeditions to the West Africa. These voyages brought gold and slaves to Portugal.
The monument also has the sculptures of other historically significant figures such as King Manuel I, poet Camões, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, monks, cosmographers, crusaders and Portuguese explorers. Queen Felipa of Lancaster, the brain of discoveries, takes place in the monument as the sole female figure.
Visiting “The Padrão dos Descobrimentos”
The most attention-grabbing part of the monument is its exterior. You can see on the eastern side the statues of great Portugues explorers and on the western sides, there are the key figures who supported the discoveries in the 15th century. After taking a good look at the exterior part, you can go to the exhibition room. The entrance to the exhibition room costs 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for teenagers.
If you want to have the best view in Lisbon, don’t forget to go to the viewing platform of the monument. There is also a museum and you can enter both the museum and the viewing platform with the same ticket, which costs 6 euros for adults and 3 euros for teenagers.
The visiting hours of the monument is between 10 am and 7 pm in the summer, and between 10 am and 6 pm during the winter. You should be there before the last 30 minutes of the visiting hours to enter. Be prepared to spend a minimum of half an hour time inside the monument, it takes approximately 20 minutes to see around exhibition rooms and 15 minutes to enjoy the view from the viewing platform.
The Monument of Discoveries is located in the Belem district and it is not far from the central Lisbon (2.5 kms distance). You can take the E15 tram to travel to Belem.
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