December 11, 2012

Belém Tower from the sky



Belém Tower was completed in 1521. Imagine the sailors who crossed the Atlantic or rounded the Cape of Good Hope to India returning home in their ships and preparing to enter big Tagus river mouth - that would be the first sign of land they saw.  In 1983 UNESCO classified it as a World Heritage Site
Belém Tower was built in the Age of the Discoveries as a tribute to the patron saint of the city, Saint Vicente. That's why she's called Saint Vicente's Tower. But most people know it as Belém Tower. This tower planted in the water was part of Lisbon's defense by the time of King João II. It's a beautiful monument that contains North African Moorish styled watchtowers, Manueline decoration, symbols of the King’s power like cables encircling the building terminating knots, armillary spheres, crosses of the Military Order of Christ. Also naturalistic elements such as the rhinoceros. This is the first rhinoceros representation in stone known in Europe. Later in time Belém Tower would be a customs control point, a telegraph station, a lighthouse and a political prison. The Tower's storerooms were transforemd into dungeons, since the time when Philip II of Spain became king of Portugal (1580) and during periods of political unrest. Now it's one of the most popular icons of Lisbon and Portugal. 


Pink Floyed filmed the tower for a promotional video.  Pink Floyd  was here 22 and 23rd July 1994. 120 000 persons joined at Alvalade Stadium to watch the two memorable shows.



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