Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery) because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

The tower was built around 1514 by Francisco de Arruda and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and a 30-metre, four-storey tower. It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore.

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Founded: 1514
Category: Castles and fortifications in Portugal

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

藍海婷Hai Ting (15 months ago)
Second visit here and simply amazing little structure. If you get the chance then definitely worth the money in. Try and go super early as it can get crowded = spoil the experience. Close to bus / tram /train stop and with the famous Nata shop close by you won't have an excuse for not visiting !
Matthias Rodamer (15 months ago)
Even during the low season it is a quit place but it is definitely worth it to go there. Here you can see all the influence that was taken in this harbor in former decades. It is really interesting to see the architecture of this building. You definitely have to visit this place when you are in Lisbon! Just look out for the Romans, they are trying to get money from you for the parking lot.
Monique de Vos (15 months ago)
Even though there isn't a lot to see inside of the tower, going there on a sunny day is definitely worth it. Even though it's facing a river, there is an added sense of sea and relaxation that is woven through the tower and the park. Combine that feeling with a piece of inspiring history, and you get the Belém Tower. Going inside the tower is free with your Lisboa card.
Manu Mathew (16 months ago)
It seems very popular. Although it's really nice to look at its a bit too touristy. The neighbourhood is great to hangout. Many small attractions to go around and admire. Don't pay to go inside any! Taking a walk around the place is pretty great to have a good day
mei kingi (17 months ago)
Easy public transportation to the monument. Was extremely busy so never actually went it. Wandered the amazing exterior on the beach front and further surroundings and spoke in length with the many tourists exiting and locals whom said that it's definitely worth a visit but during quieter time. I did enjoy the walk outside as there is still much to see for free and no bustle of queue's.
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In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

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In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.