Belem Tower

In “The Fortuitous Meeting”, Gerard sees a painting in Pero’s office in which he recognizes Belem Tower.

This impressive building, constructed between 1515 and 1521 to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s famous voyage from Europe to India, is perhaps the most famous remaining symbol of Portugal’s great Age of Discovery, when the tiny nation dominated half the the world’s oceans.


 (Image: Governo de Portugal)

Belem Tower, used primarily to defend the entrance to the Port of Lisbon, was one of the last landmarks explorers saw as they set off on their remarkable maritime voyages.  Gerard’s case is no exception; he admired the famous tower as he set out from Portugal on his fateful journey to Brazil.


 (Image: Governo de Portugal)

The tower design contains a mixture of naval elements, Christian symbols, and Gothic and Islamic architecture.  This style is known as Manueline, after King Manuel I of Portugal.


(Image: Governo de Portugal)

Today, Santa Maria de Belem (trans. Saint Mary of Bethlehem), the location of the tower, is a district of Lisbon, and Belem Tower is a UNESCO Heritage site.

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