Situated high up in gardens on a gently sloped hill, the Belem Palace is the official residence of Portugal's president since 1910. It was built in 1559 and altered in the 18th century by King João V.

In 1755 King Jose I was inside the palace where the Great Earthquake was felt only to a slight extent, and just like most buildings in this area, it wasn't severely damaged. It still retains its richly furnished halls, carvings, tiles, and numerous works of art that may be visited on Saturdays only.

The Presidency Museum is part of the palace and can be visited every day except Mondays. tells the story of the Portuguese Republic and its Presidents, with a permanent collection explaining the history of the nationals symbols (flag and anthem) and the role of the presidents through photographs. In one gallery are portraits of every Portuguese president and in another are the gifts each received from world leaders and other prominent figures.

In front of the palace is a square with well-tended gardens and a statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, the Viceroy of India, standing atop a 20m-high Neo-Manueline pedestal in the center.

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Founded: 1726
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alessandro Tedesco (2 months ago)
The house of the President of Portugal, worth a visit, full oh history and stories
Valdir Palmieri (3 months ago)
By appointment. A pleasure plsc6
pedro andrade (8 months ago)
Space is very cost, has a great inventory of important pieces to Portuguese Republican Democracy, but I feel the experience is somewhat underwhelming and that it has much much more potential, considering the pieces and the significance it has. It could be much much more interactive. The video section is painful to watch., This is the 21st century. Please do update it. It deserves better.
Pedro Cruz (8 months ago)
The museum is small, but if you're able to visit the gardens, it's worth the time
Tristan Walker (14 months ago)
A great experience. In order to get inside the palace you will need to book in advance, although the museum does not require pre-booking. Once inside, you are shown the main rooms of The Palace, where main events and protocol take place. You even get to go inside The President's Office. A fine selection of interior design and furniture, as well as paintings. Whilst touring, the guide will explain some fascinating historical stories. You will also be shown around the splendid gardens. A lovely visit that is steeped in history. The museum itself is also fascinating, outlining each President from the beginning of the Republic of Portugal, which dated back from the last century. You also get to see offers from Head of State visits.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.