Monument of the Discoveries

Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, is a city where history meets modernity effortlessly. One iconic symbol of this blend is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a grand structure celebrating Portugal’s Age of Discovery. This impressive monument, located by the Tagus River, pays tribute to Portugal’s maritime legacy, making history and architecture come alive.

History

The history of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos dates back to the early 16th century. At that time, Portuguese explorers, led by famous names like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan, were venturing into unknown territories and establishing vital trade routes. This period reshaped the world’s understanding of geography.

However, the monument itself was only built centuries later during the dictatorship. Known as the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which translates to the “Monument to the Discoveries,” it was designed by architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida during the Estado Novo dictatorship. Initially created as a temporary exhibit for the Portuguese World Exhibition in 1940, it was later reconstructed in a more permanent form in 1960.

Many argue that the monuments represent the glorification of Portuguese exploration and colonialism and some argue more context should be given to the historical period it represents and the atrocities committed.

Architecture

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is not just a historical monument; it is a masterpiece of modernist architecture. Its striking design reflects the aesthetic of the Portuguese Discoveries and the forward-thinking spirit of the 20th century.

It stands at an impressive height of 56 meters (184 feet) and features a viewing platform at the top, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River.

The marble pavement surrounding the monument is adorned with a vast, intricate map, showcasing the routes taken by Portuguese explorers during the Age of Discovery. 

This monument pays homage to key figures from the Age of Discovery, featuring a towering statue of Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator) at the forefront, symbolizing his pivotal role in Portuguese exploration. Surrounding him are 32 additional statues representing explorers, cartographers, artists, and scientists, all of whom played crucial roles in Portugal’s maritime exploits. 

Visiting Times & Tickets

A full ticket for the exhibition, viewpoint, and film costs 10 euros.

It is open from October to February every day from 10 am to 6 pm, as well as from March to September every day from 10 am to 7 pm. It’s closed on January 1st, May 1st, December 24th, 25th and 31st.

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