top of page


Location: Avenida Brasilia | Lisbon


Credits: Nuno Ratão

The Monument to the Discoveries (or Monument to the Discoveries; or Monument to the Navigators) is located in the Belém area. The architectural design is by Cottinelli Telmo and the sculptures are by Leopoldo de Almeida.

In a prominent position on the right bank of the Tagus River, the original monument, built with perishable materials, was erected in 1940 on the occasion of the Exhibition of the Portuguese World to pay homage to the historical figures involved in the Portuguese Discoveries.  


The original monument dismantled in 1958, and in the same place, by order of the President of the Council, Professor Oliveira Salazar, the replica we know today was built, 56 meters high, in concrete and limestone. Its inauguration was in 1960, on the occasion of the 5th centenary of the death of Infante D. Henrique.

“The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a modern work in a sober style and with precious artistic details. Its shape is that of a stylized caravel and carved around it are some of the greatest navigators and important personalities of the time, such as Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral and the poet Luís de Camões. At the top of the monument stands the image of the great driving force behind the discoveries, Infante D. Henrique holding a miniature caravel and observing the Tagus, invoking the desire to explore the new world.” (in pattern of discoveries | lisbon cool )

A stylized caravel is set out to sea, carrying Infante D. Henrique to the bow and some of the protagonists (32) of the overseas gesta and the culture of the time, navigators, cartographers, warriors, colonizers, evangelizers, chroniclers and artists, are portrayed with the symbols that individualize them.

On the floor of the space in front of the monument to the north of the monument, there is a 50 meter diameter compass rose, offered by South Africa in 1960 to enhance the heritage that Portugal has achieved. 

In the center is a 14m wide planisphere, decorated with plant elements, compass roses, buffoons, a mermaid, a fantastic fish and Neptune with a trident and trumpet mounted on a marine being. "Dates, ships and caravels mark the main routes of Portuguese expansion, between the 15th and 16th centuries"


In 1985, the interior was remodeled, endowing the Padrão with an auditorium and exhibition rooms, and a viewpoint, where a beautiful panorama of Belém and the Tagus river is unveiled. Since then, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos has functioned as the Discoveries Cultural Center.


The history of the discoveries is forever marked in the culture and history of Portugal and the Portuguese people. Visiting the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is to feel motivated to cross borders and discover new worlds beyond the sea.

GPS coordinates: 38º 41' 37" N, 9º 12' 20" W

bottom of page