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To the western edge of Belem is the visually striking war memorial dedicated to soldiers of the Portuguese army who died during the Overseas War of 1961 to 1974. The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar memorial comprises of three distinctive sections; the flame, the monument and memorial wall.
The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar Lisbon
The central flame burns continuously to signify the lasting memory of the dead soldiers while the names of each solider who died in the protracted African conflict are etched into the the three walls that surround the memorial. The artistic section of the Monumento Combatentes Ultramar include a shallow purpose built lake and two large angled pillars that jut out above the flame.
The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar is situated to the west of the Belem district and is close to the Torre de Belem. The memorial has no entrance fee and can be viewed at any time of the day as it is permanently open. The Ultramar memorial is the most westerly tourist sight in Belem so it is usually the last sight tourists visit before leaving the district.
Lisbon's army guarding the tomb
The Overseas War (Combatentes Ultramar) was a dark period in Portugal’s modern history that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of the Salazar dictatorship but the toll on Lisbon was extremely high as many of the soldiers families originated from the capital. The Overseas War took the lives of over 9,000 soldiers and lasted between 1961 and 1974 as Portugal desperately tried to retain its African colonies.
The name of each soldier who perished is engraved onto the 180 bronze plates that surround the central memorial. The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar was unveiled in February 2000 and was designed by artists Carlos Guerrero and Batista Barros.