Discover the land of the Greatest Navigators
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One of the Great Portuguese Explorer in that age -- "The Age of Discoveries", probably was Vasco da Gama. In 1497-1498, Vasco da Gama made a voyage that forever changed the balance of trade around the world. He was the first to sail from Europe (Lisbon) to Asia (India) around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern trip of Africa. Later, he returned to Lisbon in 1499 with a cargo of spices that pad for his expedition's coast sixty time over, and upon his return, he was treated as a hero and was rewarded by the King (King Manuel I).
The Jerónimos Monastery is situated in the Belém district of Lisbon. It was built by King Manuel "I" to celebrate Vasco da Gama's return from India. It says that it took 50 years to complete the construction of the monastery!! It is considered as a tribute to the ocean and it is now one of the most prominent monuments in Lisbon. Inside the monastery there are stone tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões (poet and recorder of the discoveries).
I was impressed by the stunning architecture and the atmosphere of the monastery! Although I need to pay to see the cloisters of the monastery, but it is all worth it.
The Belém Tower is the most popular attraction of Lisbon. It is located on the banks of the river 'Tagus'. It was built in 1521 as a monument to the Portuguese discoveries and looks like a miniature castle. It is an example of Manueline architecture influenced by the periods of Gothic and Renaissance.
The Belém Tower is divided into two parts, the bastion and the five-story tower itself, which is located on the north side of the bastion. The whole ensemble looks like the bow of a caravel!! It is an interesting place to visit but I think it could be a lot more interesting if the staircase between each level was wider. I didn't like it when I climbed up the tower, because it was too tired and difficult for me to reach to each level of the tower through the narrow spiral staircase. (but........maybe the problem it wasn't the staircase, it was me who was too weak!!)
In Lisbon, you can get around easily by metro (which is quick and efficient), bus and taxi (which is easy and with the cost of $10 to $15 euro it will take you to many places in the city). Also, there is a Hop-on Hop-off City Bus Tour for tourists to explore Lisbon's main attractions. It is the most convenient way to get around in Lisbon. It takes you to more than ten tourist attractions, where people can hop on and off as many times as they want to throughout the day, including the city's most interesting and attractive sights, which are The Jerónimos Monastery, The Belém Tower and the Monument of the Discoveries. Moreover, there is a guided commentary provided along the route, which makes the journey more interesting and helps to discover Lisbon's remarkable history as touring the sights.
CIDADE BAIXA (Low District)
Walk through the Triumphal Arch, I came to "Rua de Augusta", a lively pedestrian street with mosaic pavements, outdoor cafes, shops, and the street artist and peddler. I was attracted by the architecture, items, souvenirs, paintings, flowers, t-shirts, and anything else I saw on the street. I was told that this part of the city is still intact, many of the buildings are exactly the same as they originally were!! I love this street!!
This whole neighborhood, Cidade Baixa, was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, however, it was rebuilt by Marquês do Pombal after the earthquake. I was amazed that many of the buildings I saw were intact, they are the same as they originally were!!
ALFAMA (The Oldest District)
Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the Castle of Lisbon and the Tejo river. Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning fountains or baths. It contains many important historical attractions, with many bars and restaurants.
In this fantastic old neighborhood of Alfama, there is St. Jorge's Castle. Located up the hill, with a great view over the city and the river. I got there by walking from downtown, going through the slopes of Alfama.
From the Oceanarium, we took a cable car to the futuristic Vasco da Gama Tower. The Tower is named after one of Portugal's greatest explorers and was opened in 1998, on the 500th anniversary of his voyage to India. Its shape evokes a nautical sail, and standing at 145m high, it is Lisbon's tallest building.
At the top of the tower there is a viewing platform that offers a beautiful view over Lisbon, the river, and Vasco da Gama Bridge.
Although the Statue of Cristo Rei in Lisbon looks very similar to the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (but smaller), however I think each statue has its own uniqueness and beauty which can not be compared with each other.
This is the geographical coordinates of the Cabo da Roca:
Latitude - 38' 47' North
Longitude - 9' 30' West
Altitude - 140 m above sea level
1st Apparition: May 13th 1917
2nd Apparition: June 13th 1917
3rd Apparition: July 13th 1917
4th Apparition: August 19th 1917
5th Apparition: September 13th 1917
6th Apparition: October 13th 1917
Thanks for reading my post. I wish you to have a great time in Portugal! This westernmost region of Europe is simply the perfect holiday choice!
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