At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, in Belém, next to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (the Heironymite Monastery) there was a sugar cane refinery attached to a small general store. As a result of the 1820 liberal revolution, all convents and monasteries in Portugal were shut down in 1834, the clergy and labourers expelled.
In an attempt at survival, someone from the monastery offered sweet pastries for sale in the shop; pastries that rapidly became known as ‘Pastéis de Belém’.
At that period the area of Belém was considered far from the city of Lisbon and mainly accessed by steam-boats. At the same time, the grandeur of the monastery and the Torre de Belém (the Belém Tower) attracted visitors who soon grew used to savouring the delicious pastries originated in the monastery.
In 1837, the baking of the “Pastéis de Belém”began in the buildings attached to the refinery, following the ancient ‘secret recipe` from the monastery. Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the ‘secret room’, this recipe remained unchanged to the present day.
In fact, the only true ‘Pasteis de Belém’ contrive, by means of a scrupulous selection of ingredients, to offer even today the flavour of the time-honoured Portuguese sweetmaking.
– Ticket: 6,00 euros.
– Visitors aged 65 or older – 50%.
– Student’s card (not for study visits) – 50%.
– Youth Card – 50%.
– Family ticket (minimum 4 members of near family or similar) – 50%.
– Protocols with third party institutions – 20%.
Exemptions: Proof of entitlement required.
– The entrance is free in National Museums and Monuments at sundays and holidays until 2 p.m. for residents in Portugal.
– Children aged 12 and under.
– Unemployed EU citizens.
– Visitors with reduced mobility (60% disability with documents to prove it) accompanied by one attendant.
– ICOM, ICOMOS and APOM members.
– Researchers /conservators/restorers, museum and/or heritage professionals during the course of their work.
– Cultural associations (exclusively for groups of friends of museums, monuments, palaces, castles and archaeological sites).
– Volunteers working for the DGPC with one accompanying person.
– European Heritage Days (Sunday).
– International Day of Monuments and Sites – 18 April (exclusively for DGPC Monuments).
– International Museum Day – 18 May (exclusively for DGPC museums and palaces).
– Late-night Museums and Thursday Nights (access restricted to activities organised by the DGPC).
– Journalists during the course of their work with prior notice.
– Teachers and students of any level of education, including universities for senior citizens, during study visits duly proven, and upon prior reservation confirmed by the relevant Dependent Service.
– Groups of accredited Portuguese welfare institutions or social work departments of municipalities or other public interest institutions. Prior approval is required from the DGPC executive board.
Belém Tower history
The tower of Bethlehem was built in a military architectural style in the early 16th century as a defensive tower of the city to prevent pirate attacks due to the wealth of products arriving in Lisbon from India.
– 50% to visitors up to 29 and over 65.
– 20% with Lisbon Card, Lisbon Sightseeing or Ciência Viva Card. Free:
– Sundays after 14:00.
– Minors up to 12.
– Carers for people with disabilities or limited mobility.
– ICOM, AICA and APOM members.
– Gulbenkian Artist Card and Press Card.
Mr. Calouste Gulbenkian history
Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955) arrived in Portugal during the Second World War and fell in love with the country, staying here to reside. After death left the fortune to create a foundation, with the purpose to foster the national culture, and that bears his name.
He was born in Turkey and studied in England, later adopting the nationality of that country.
Son of wealthy families, he increased personal wealth by using his knowledge to mediate negotiations between Eastern and European countries seeking new sources of raw energy, namely oil.
In 1942 he arrived in Portugal. He came sick and in the confusion of the war he ended up staying longer than he had expected, falling in love with the country.
He left part of his fortune and his art collection to a foundation created with his name. It is one of the most important cultural foundations of the country.
– Ticket: 8,50 euros.
– Estudantes less than 25 years 5 euros.
– Family (2 adults + 2 childrens less than 18 anos) 20 euros.
– Disabled people 5 euros.
– Seniors with more than 65 years 5 euros.
– Tour Operators 7,5 euros.
– School groups 1 euro.
– Chidrens with less than 10 years.
– Residentes in Lisbon town.
– Interpreter guides in the exercise of functions.
– Journalists with prior appointment.
– School groups of the County of Lisbon.
– Residents in National Territory on Sundays and holidays between 9:00am and 2:00pm.
History of Saint George Castle
The Castelo de S. Jorge is a National Monument that occupies a privileged area of the old medieval alcáçova (citadel) and consists of the castle, ruins of the former royal palace and part of the neighborhood for the elite.
The fortification, built by the Moors in the mid-11th century, was the last defensive stronghold for the elite who resided on the citadel: the Moorish governor whose palace was nearby, and the elite city administrators whose homes are visible today in the Archaeological Site.
After Dom Afonso Henriques conquered Lisbon on October 25th, 1147, to become the first king of Portugal, the Castelo de S. Jorge began its golden age as home for the royalty. The old Moorish period buildings were modified and enlarged to receive the king, his court and the bishop, as well as the Royal Archives in one of the castle towers. Once the Portuguese kings had transformed the Castelo de S. Jorge into a royal palace in the 13th century, it was chosen to receive many notable Portuguese and foreign figures, as well as hold festivities as well as coronations during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.
When Portugal became part of the Spanish Crown in 1580, the Castelo de S. Jorge took on a more important military purpose which continued until the early 20th century. Some areas were converted, while new ones emerged. But it was after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 that the most substantial renovation work took place on the old medieval alcáçova, with many new buildings gradually obstructing older ruins. In the 19th century, military installations covered the entire monument area.
The castle and ruins of the former royal palace were rediscovered following major restoration work carried out from 1938-40. Ancient buildings were rescued from the midst of previous demolition projects. The castle regained its former magnificence and was opened for public use.
Archaeological research conducted in various areas in the late 20th century was vital in confirming how ancient hilltop settlement had been, as well as the location’s invaluable historical importance, basis for the Royal Decree of 1910 declaring the Castelo de S. Jorge a National Monument.