Sunday, October 19, 2014

LISBON: TOWER OF BELEM, MONUMENT TO THE DISCOVERIES, TAGUS RIVER

Lisbon's major waterway is the Tagus River, which flows out of central Spain and across Portugal.  It broadens substantially near Lisbon to form an ideal harbor, before emptying into the Atlantic.  The Portuguese have erected two major monuments on the Tagus, some 450 years apart, the Tower of Belem and the Monument to the Discoveries.  We visited both, led by our knowledgeable Lisbon guide.


The Tower of Belem was constructed as a fortress in 1514-20.


Here is another shot with my cutie in the photo.  Not a great shot as I have cut off the monument's top.


Note that the tower sits in the river and is accessible by bridge.  The tower was not open to visitors while we were there.

The second structure, the Monument to the Discoveries, was completed in 1960 and is located on the shore of the river just a few hundred yards to the east.  This first shot is poor, as it views the monument straight on from its narrow side, while most of the architectural interest is on either side.


Here are some images from the monument's east side, which features large statues of many of the historical figures important to geographical discoveries, beginning in the 14th and 15th centuries.





The statues are impressive for their detail and their realism and for the determination expressed in the discoverers' faces.

In front of the monument is a plaza that displays a massive compass including in its center a map of the world, all constructed of inlaid stone of differing colors.  Because of the crowds and the compass's size, it was impossible to get a shot of the compass or map as a whole, so I contented myself with detail shots of the Great Lakes and of Portugal.



There was a bit of mist on the river, and I got the following shot of the large suspension bridge crossing the river and of the boats taking advantage of the pleasant weather.


The above is one of my favorite shots, in part because it represented an unexpected opportunity.  Here are a couple of similar photos that I converted to black & white.



I thought the boats were critical to the success of these shots.

John

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