Europe's second oldest capital city was perfectly placed as a gateway for trade and exploration. Phoenicians, Romans, Celts and Moors were beguiled by its beautiful waterfront, ensuring that the city absorbed an eclectic mix of architectural styles and cultural characteristics. The spirit of adventure is best represented by the Discoveries Monument on the Tagus River's north bank. Built in 1960, this striking stone structure portrays explorers Magellan, Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator, spanning the imposing bow of a ship. Walk the length of 25 de Abril Bridge, which straddles the Tagus and resembles San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Enter the Alfama district and step into the past, as you walk its narrow lanes and happen across petite squares, quaint houses and churches marked out in pristine white and titian. And further along the coast, admire the exquisite architecture of the Monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belém, dating back to 1502.
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