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The “Monument to the Discoveries” (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) was initially conceived in 1939 by the Portuguese architect Cottinelli Telmo, along with sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida, as a temporary beacon during the Exhibition of the Portuguese World in April, 1940. After the collapse of the structure it was rebuilt where it stands today in Belém. The monument romanticizes Portugal’s maritime history in keeping with Salazar’s New State ideology.
The design takes the form of a caravel. Both sides feature representational figures prominent in Portuguese discoveries, including monarchs, explorers, cartographers, scientists and missionaries. Infante Henrique, “Henry the Navigator,” is at the prow of the symbolic caravel.