Tour Locations | Lisbon: The Age of Discovery

  • LOCATION 19 | Lisbon: The Age of Discovery

    The Compass Rose

    The Compass Rose on Lisbon audio tour Lisbon: The Age of Discovery

    On the ground ahead of you is the Compass Rose.

    Stop to have a look at it or feel free to browse around while I tell you about it.

    [3 SECOND PAUSE]

    Have a look at the beautiful black and red limestone pavement depicting a global map.

    This remarkable pavement was designed by architect Cristino da Silva, and offered by the Republic of South Africa, which joined in the commemorations for the fifth centenary of Prince Henry the Navigator, 1460 - 1960.

    The background consists of ‘open sea’ waves, a motif commonly used for the typical Portuguese cobblestone pavements.

    Notice the dates, ships and caravels, that mark the main routes of the Portuguese expansion between the 1400s and 1500s.

    I want to highlight four dates.

    1418 was the year when the Portuguese began systematically exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa, under the leadership of Prince Henry.
    Under Henry's direction, a new and much lighter ship was developed. This was the caravel. It could sail further and faster, and, above all, was highly manoeuvrable and could sail much nearer the wind, or into the wind.

    1488 was the year Navigator Bartolomeu Dias reached the Indian Ocean by this route.

    1498, the year a Portuguese expedition commanded by Vasco da Gama reached India by sailing around Africa, opening up direct trade with Asia.

    And lastly, 1500, the year Pedro Ávares Cabral arrived in Brazil.

    Now, imagine that you are a conquistador. Follow the routes and discover the world through the eyes of a Portuguese navigator.

    When you're ready, head to the left hand side of the large monument by the river.

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