The Discoveries Monument

The Discoveries Monument is located at Avenida de Brasilia, in the Belem district. It is beside the Tagus River estuary. The monument was completed in 1960 during the 500 year anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator (1394-1469), who was the third son of Joao I. Henry the Navigator financed the expeditions to the African coast and also founded a school of navigation in the Algarve. The monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. The monument has the shield of Portugal on both sides and the sword of the royal house over the doorway. There are 33 statues on the monument that represent monarchs, explorers, cartographers, artists, scientists and missionaries. The architect of the monument was Cottinelli Telmo and the sculptor was Leopoldo de Almeida.

The monument is designed in the shape of a caravel and shows Henry the Navigator at the prow. It also shows other heroes of Portuguese history, such as Vasco da Gama and Magellan. The monument is impressive because it is 52 meters high. One can go to the top of the monument by an elevator located inside the building. From there one can see a large map on the square that shows the routes of the discoverers. The square shows a 50 meter diameter compass rose (using different types of marble) that was designed by the architect Cristino da Silva.