Friday, January 16, 2015

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

This is part 3 entry of Belém (Lisbon).

The fifty meter tall Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) that shaped like ship's prow, can be found on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary. For sure, it represents a romanticized idealization of the Portuguese exploration!

That's where Vasco da Gama embarked on his voyage to india in 1497 and also where Christopher Columbus had to anchor his ships due to the storm on his way back to Spain after his triumphal discovery of the Americas. It's around 900 meter away from Belém Tower, BTW.

The monument was built in 1960 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator's death. It should be noted that the monument we see today is the replica of original one that was built for the Portuguese World Fair opening in June 1940. The original monument was demolished after the exposition. 

Great people on western side
In total, there are 33 figures along two sides of the monument. That includes great people with variety of occupations and each idealized figures is designed to show movement towards the unknown sea.


Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. A cool shot, great edit to b&w!
    My post at:

  2. An amazing design. Such a sense of power in the angled, upward movement of the figures. And love the curving shapes of the monument.

  3. The Monument to the Discoveries (O Padrão dos Descobrimentos), designed by architect Cottinelli Telmo (1897-1948) was originally conceived for the Portuguese World Exhibition in 1940.
    And it was done, in order to celebrate the eight centuries of the birth of Portugal as a country (1140 was the year in which D. Afonso Henriques sported for the first time, the title of King of Portugal), and of course this monument was also made, to honor the Portuguese Discoveries.
    The original structure of this monument was a temporary structure that was dismantled in 1958.
    The current Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) was finally completed in 1960, in
    the fifth centenary of the death of Prince Henry ( Infante D. Henrique), called the Navigathor Prince, because it was he who boosted the Portuguese discoveries .
    The first statue in the Monument of Discoveries, is the Prince Henry. This monument has the configuration of a caravel, with vertical walls who symbolize the sails, above which we can observe the Portuguese weapons of that time. The monument entrance door is filled by a sculpture of a sword decorated on the handle with the cross of Aviz order as a symbol of force of arms and the Christian faith.
    Another funny thing that if the people don´t know, or are not informed can pass undetected, and that is a pity, because is very interesting.
    The yard where the monument is deployed is a typical Portuguese sidewalk, decorated with a compass (rosa dos ventos), and a planisphere in pink marble, where we can see written the main routes and dates of the Portuguese Discoveries.

  4. What a very attractive monument. I love its lines.

  5. Oh wow! Looks very heroic and I can can imagine that it is hugely romanticized. Must be quite an impressive sight.

  6. Love the photos and and how very detailed they are.

    Was reading the above comment and it's quite interesting to learn the story behind the sculptures and how it signifies the era (the conquisition and the spread of Christianity).

  7. Wonderful series of photos! Really an impressive monument!

  8. Thank you for bringing this impressive monument to our attention. Great photos and history.

  9. a gorgeosu monoment and great artsy editing for the bw images :)

  10. I see you are from Japan. Maybe you would like the other ninja post I shared too. It is the psot before the woman with Kimono. :)

    And maybe you would be interested in my photoart meme?
    Why not take a look at

  11. かっちょイイ写真です!!  夜に撮影されたのですね?

  12. 白黒のコントラストで航海者たちの動きが強調され、発見の喜びと興奮が生き生きと伝わってきそうです。大きな弧を描くデザインがまた動きと流れを感じさせますね。とても印象的なモニュメントですね。


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