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TOWER OF BELÉM

Preserving a symbol of Lisbon's golden age of exploration

TOWER OF BELÉM
Lisbon, Portugal
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BACKGROUND

At the end of the 15th century, King D. João II of Portugal commissioned the Tower of Belém as part of a tripartite defensive network to protect the port of Lisbon. Originally, a man-of-war called the Grande Nau, or big vessel, guarded the estuary where the Tagus River flowed into Lisbon harbor until it was decided one of these new fortresses would replace it. (...)

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HOW WE HELPED

In May 1994, WMF compiled a survey report on the state of conservation at the Tower of Belém, which systematically identified and mapped deterioration and alterations found on each stone. From February to August 1997, conservators then focused on the tower and from September 1997 to February 1998, the team addressed the bulwark. (...)

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WHY IT MATTERS

Though the tower was stable, other problems had developed over time due to air pollution and weathering caused by the harbor winds. The architectural sculptures at the base of the turrets displayed severe deterioration as a result of their exposed position. (...)

RELATED LINKS

Symposium Proceedings

Read Conservation of Architectural Heritage in Portugal towards the end of the 20th Century. Is it valid to consider a "WMF" effect? (PDF, in Portuguese, with English summary), as presented at Simpósio Património em Construção: Contextos para a sua preservação in November of 2011.