2.5 euro – Tower of Belém

Series: Portugal – UNESCO World Heritage Sites

King John II of Portugal developed an innovative and effective plan to protect Lisbon and its port entrance. This triple defence consisted of a bulwark in Cascais, the fortress of St. John of Caparica and the Tower of Belém. The task of ordering it to be constructed fell to Dom Manuel II, in 1514, who named the architect Francisco de Arruda as master of the Bulwark of Belém. The structure was finished in 1520 and the decoration displays the singular symbolism of Manueline architecture. In the present day, the Tower of Belém is a cultural reference, a symbol of the specificity of the country in relation to its special capacity for dialogue with other cultures and civilisations. In 1983, it was officially recognised by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List.
The coin, designed by sculptor José João de Brito, shows in its obverse a composition consisting of the Portuguese Shield and the face value, which is clasped by the strong knot that the Tower displays on its north facing elevation. A relief alluding to the “Torre de Belém”, highlighting the sentry posts that are unique features of the Portuguese military architecture, is shown in reverse. The composition is completed by the World Heritage logo and the word UNESCO.