Monument to the Discoveries (PT – Portugal)

Across from Jeronimos Monastery, reached via an underpass by its gardens, is the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.

It represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, with sculptures of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, following Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow holding a small vessel. The only female is queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Henry the navigator, the brain of the discoveries.

Inside is an exhibition space with temporary exhibits, and an elevator that takes visitors to the top for some bird’s-eye views of Belem and its monuments.

The pavement in front of the monument is decorated with a mosaic that was offered by the South African government in 1960, representing a compass with the map of the world charting the routes taken by the Portuguese explorers.

To view other UNESCO Heritage sites, click here.

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