Discovery Monument, Lisbon

Visitors to Lisbon will find that this charming city offers a host of exciting attractions. Among those attractions is Padrão dos Descobrimentos or Discovery Monument. Designed to pay homage to the explorers who participated in the Golden Age of Discovery and established Portugal as a superpower during the 15th and 16th centuries, the monument was erected for the Lisbon World Exhibition in 1940. Reflecting the shape of a caravela ship, the monument depicts Henry the Navigator (Infante D. Henrique) standing at the front of the ship, along with such historic individuals as Vasco de Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Fernão de Magalhães, and King Afonso V. Queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Prince Henry, is the only women depicted in the group.

Decorating the front of the monument is a beautiful mosaic forming the shape of a compass, presented by South Africa. The monument is situated in the Belem district near the River Tejo, the location of an ancient harbor from which many of Portugal's great expeditions set sail. Visitors will most certainly want to capture photos of the monument's exterior before proceeding inside to tour the museum where Lisbon's history is well documented. A viewing platform located at the top of the monument offers superior views of the surrounding area.

The idea for the monument was conceived of in 1939 by Cottinelli Telmo and Leopoldo de Almeida. Originally, the monument was only intended to serve as an attraction for the World Fair and it was demolished in 1943. By 1960; however, a new monument had been erected in memory of the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.