Built in 1515, Belém Tower has stood at the mouth of the Tagus River for 500 years, welcoming sailors and explorers on their return home while serving as a defensive fort against foreign invasion.
A Symbol of Home
With its strategic site, the Belém Tower was often the last sight of Lisbon for explorers leaving the city and the first one welcoming them home. Throughout its history, it has served as a defensive fort, custom house, and prison. Its importance to defense rose and fell over time until it was used in the 20th century for non-military means.
The tower is an excellent example of the Manueline style. Unique to Portugal, it incorporates elements of Late Gothic with cultural influences from Morocco, the Renaissance and Venice. Constructed of limestone, the intricate stonework inside and out is a dramatic site against the shore.