Belém is a parish of Lisbon and the name is derived from the Portuguese for Bethlehem.
Belém is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery. Including Vasco da Gama in 1497. It is also a former royal residence and features the 17th-18th century Belém Palace, former royal residence and now occupied by the President of Portugal, and the Ajuda Palace, begun in 1802 but never completed.
Perhaps Belém's most famous feature is its tower, Torre de Belém , whose image is much used by Lisbon's tourist board. The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse to guard the entrance to the port at Belém. It stands on a little island on the edge of the Tagus.
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