Aarika Koehler

Aarika Koehler

Published: 12 Sep 2023

Source: Sumfinity.com

The Monument to the Discoveries, located in Lisbon, Portugal, is a tribute to the Portuguese Age of Exploration and the sailors who set out on daring voyages centuries ago. This iconic landmark stands tall and proud on the bank of the Tagus River, commanding attention with its grandeur and symbolism.

In this article, we will delve into the history and significance of this magnificent monument, as well as uncover 12 fascinating facts that make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and travelers. From its architectural design to the famous figures depicted on its facade, join us as we explore the intriguing details that make the Monument to the Discoveries an unmissable landmark on any trip to Lisbon.

Table of Contents

The Monument to the Discoveries is a symbol of Portugal’s rich maritime history

The Monument to the Discoveries, or Padrão dos Descobrimentos, is a majestic structure located on the banks of the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal. This iconic monument pays tribute to the Age of Discoveries and the intrepid explorers who paved the way for Portugal’s seafaring dominance during the 15th and 16th centuries.

It was built to commemorate Prince Henry the Navigator

One of the primary purposes of the Monument to the Discoveries is to honor the renowned Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator. Henry played a pivotal role in the Age of Discoveries, sponsoring numerous voyages of exploration and launching Portugal into an era of maritime expansion.

The monument features famous historical figures

Standing at 52 meters tall, the Monument to the Discoveries is adorned with larger-than-life sculptures of prominent figures from Portugal’s maritime history. These include explorers, cartographers, artists, missionaries, and other key personalities who contributed to Portugal’s golden age of exploration.

You can climb to the top for panoramic views

Visitors to the monument have the opportunity to climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. From this vantage point, you can see the picturesque neighborhoods of Belém, the Tagus River, and even the iconic Belém Tower.

It was constructed for the Portuguese World Exhibition

The Monument to the Discoveries was originally built as a temporary structure for the Portuguese World Exhibition held in However, due to its popularity and significance, it was later reconstructed in a permanent form in 1960.

The monument embodies the spirit of exploration

The design of the monument is representative of the prows of caravels, the ships used by Portuguese explorers during their voyages of discovery. This symbolic representation serves as a reminder of the pioneering spirit and ambition of those who ventured into the unknown.

It houses the Discoveries Exhibition

Within the monument, there is a fascinating exhibition that offers insights into Portugal’s maritime history. The Discoveries Exhibition showcases artifacts, maps, and multimedia displays that transport visitors back in time to the Age of Discoveries.

The monument underwent extensive restoration

Over the years, the Monument to the Discoveries has undergone several restoration projects to ensure its preservation. The most significant restoration took place in 1985, where the monument was carefully renovated to reclaim its grandeur and historical significance.

There are symbolic elements on the monument

A closer look at the monument reveals several symbolic elements, including a compass rose embedded in the pavement, which represents the navigational expertise of Portuguese explorers. Additionally, there are intricate mosaic patterns that depict maritime motifs and historical events.

It has become a prominent tourist attraction

The Monument to the Discoveries has captured the imagination of visitors from around the world and has become one of Lisbon’s most visited landmarks. Its striking architecture, historical significance, and stunning waterfront location make it a must-see destination for travelers exploring the city.

The monument offers a glimpse into Portugal’s seafaring legacy

By commemorating Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, the Monument to the Discoveries serves as a powerful reminder of the country’s rich seafaring heritage. It celebrates the accomplishments of brave explorers and their contributions to world history, leaving a lasting impact on global maritime exploration.

It is located in the historically significant neighborhood of Belém

The Monument to the Discoveries is situated in the picturesque neighborhood of Belém, which is steeped in history and charm. Visitors can explore other notable attractions in the area, including the Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, and the Belém Cultural Centre.

In conclusion, the Monument to the Discoveries stands tall as a symbol of Portugal’s pioneering spirit and maritime legacy. Through its striking design, fascinating exhibition, and panoramic views, it offers a captivating glimpse into the Age of Discoveries and the heroic explorers who shaped Portugal’s history.


In conclusion, the Monument to the Discoveries is a truly remarkable landmark that pays homage to Portugal’s rich history of exploration and discovery. Its impressive architecture, intricate sculptures, and symbolic design make it a must-visit attraction for history buffs and culture enthusiasts alike. As you explore this iconic monument, you’ll be transported back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the significant contributions made by Portuguese explorers.Whether you’re admiring the stunning views from the top, learning about the explorers depicted on the monument, or simply strolling along the surrounding promenade, the Monument to the Discoveries offers an immersive experience that showcases the spirit of adventure and curiosity that defined the Age of Discovery. So, be sure to add this extraordinary landmark to your travel itinerary and discover the captivating stories behind Portugal’s exploration legacy.


1. What is the Monument to the Discoveries?

The Monument to the Discoveries is a prominent landmark in Lisbon, Portugal, dedicated to the achievements of Portuguese explorers during the Age of Discovery.

2. When was the Monument to the Discoveries built?

The monument was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, a prominent Portuguese prince and patron of explorers.

3. Where is the Monument to the Discoveries located?

The monument is located on the banks of the Tagus River in the Belém district of Lisbon, offering breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding area.

4. What is the significance of the sculptures on the monument?

The sculptures represent key figures from Portugal’s Age of Discovery, including explorers, cartographers, and monarchs, symbolizing the country’s voyages of exploration and its historical role in global exploration.

5. Can you go inside the Monument to the Discoveries?

While visitors cannot enter the monument itself, there is an exhibition space on the ground floor showcasing artifacts and exhibits related to Portugal’s maritime history.

6. Is there an entrance fee to visit the monument?

Yes, there is a small entrance fee to visit the exhibition inside the monument. However, you can also admire the exterior of the monument and enjoy the surrounding area free of charge.

7. Are there any other attractions nearby?

Absolutely! The Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery are located just a short walk away from the Monument to the Discoveries and are both highly recommended landmarks to explore.

8. Can you climb to the top of the Monument to the Discoveries?

Unfortunately, you cannot climb to the top of the monument. However, there is an observation terrace located on the roof of the nearby Centro Cultural de Belém that provides stunning panoramic views of the monument and the surrounding area.