Museu do Combatente Lisbon

There is a new military museum adjacent to the Tower of Belem. Its theme is those who fought in Portugal's Twentieth Century wars.

It;s inside a more modern fortification and is overlooked from the Tower.

I has a selection of guns and equipment like this 75mm pack howitzer.

It is concerned with all the military forces involved in foreign combat including the police.

Part of the original equipment of the fort

Yes that is a Stuart at the far end.

I didn't take any pictures inside. One room had modellers collection of aircraft and it's surprising how many different types the Portuguese airforce fly.
The most interesting section of rooms was the African liberation struggle - lots of intriguing pictures, but with Portuguese captions so it was difficult to get a proper impression.
Each of the casemates had a section concerned with one arm of service with explanation of the uniforms and past and current roles. Finally like many museums at the moment there was a WW1 trench experience.


Tower of Belem

All along the Tagus estuary are a series of small vauban syle forts defending various landing points, but the most impressive is the Tower of Belem on the old outskirts of Lisbon.

It used to be beyond the shoreline but this is no longer the tidal shore it once was and has been expanded seawards.

The lower level is where the real power lies as it has openning for guns all round. No picture I'm afraid as it was full of tourists.

The level below the guns has ammunition storage and was also used as a prison.

The tower is the forts real feature with a traffic light system for controlling ascent/descent.

Splendid views from the tower across the Tagus.

The other side of the tower with yours truly!


Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)

Positioned on a high above Sintra in Portugal overlooking the Tagus estuary and the west coast is a fantastic castle.

You can take the bus up, but better is the stiff climb through the trees of the Quinta Sasseni, about 15minutes from the top the castle appear above you

This is a popular area for rock climbers as well

The view directly down to the national palace shows how far we climbed

The Moors built the fort in the tenth century in a col between two hill tops.

The view down the way we ascended.

The opposite hilltop with Pena palace beyond

The castle was "invaded" by King Sigurd I of Norway in 1109

It actually fell to the Portuguese following the conquest of Lisbon in 1147.

During the 12/13th centuries the fortifications were improved

While the structure was well fortified by 1383 most of the population was moving down to Sintra

The castle was badly damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake

It was rebuilt by King Fernando II at the same time as Pena palace was constructed.

Another view of Pena.


Normal service will now be resumed

It's been a bit quiet here for a while because I took advantage of some cheap flights to visit Lisbon and nearby. I managed to visit a number of interesting sites and museums and they will be the subjects of some future posts. Now I just need to re-motivate myself to get painting again.