EA Tours Blog
The weekend is finally here educational travelers!
For today’s photo, I wanted to share with you perhaps the most iconic landmark in all of Lisbon.
Educational tours to Portugal and its capital city Lisbon are gaining in popularity with student groups. With an abundance of museums, cultural sites, great food, friendly people, and a fascinating history, it’s no wonder why student tours are flocking to this Mediterranean country.
One of the first sties that teachers and their students will see is the Torre de Belém or Belem Tower. This fortified tower was built in the early 16th century, and has since become an UNESCO World Heritage Site for the noteworthy role it played in the Portuguese maritime findings during the Age of Discoveries.
The tower was initially commissioned by King John II in the 15th century but he sadly passed away before the sketches were completed and construction even began. The project was then put aside. By the time construction did commence, Manuel I was king of Portugal. The reason for the Tower of Belém’s construction was that it would serve not only as part of the city’s defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River, but also as a ceremonial gateway into Lisbon. Before it was the Tower of Belém, it was known by another name though. King John II called it the Torre de São Vicente because he put it under the protection of St. Vincent or Lisbon’s patron saint.
What makes the tower so gorgeous though is that the style that it was built in reflects architectural elements of the time. This distinct style is called Manueline. Manueline is a Portuguese variant of the high Gothic style that could be found all over Northern Europe. It can also be described as late Gothic with strong influence from the Spanish Plateresque style, Italian urban architecture, and the Flemish. It represents a transition from the late Gothic period to early Renaissance. However, Manueline is more exuberant with its decorations and nautical themed ornaments.
Students and teachers may notice that these maritime elements and representations reflect the history of the time. The Tower of Belém showcases Portugal’s wealth and self-confidence that came from the Age of Discoveries.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post on what is just a small glimpse into Portugal’s past. The country’s history is a captivating one that is waiting for eager students to unearth it on their EA educational tour.
Enjoy the weekend,