Torre do tombo

National Archive of Torre do Tombo (Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo)
National Archive of the Tomb Tower
National Archive (Arquivo Nacional)
The front facade of the large national archive building in center-north Lisbon
Official name: Torre do Tombo
Name origin: torre do tombo Portuguese for tower of the tomb
Country  Portugal
Region Lisbon
Sub-region Grande Lisboa
District Lisbon
Municipality Lisbon
Architects Ateliers Associados, Arsénio Raposo Cordeiro, A.N. de Almeida, M. Sheppard Cruz
Style Modern
Materials Limestone, Concrete
Origin 1378
Owner Portuguese Republic
For public Public
Visitation Closed (Mondays and on 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December)
Easiest access Alameda da Universidade
Management Instituto Gestão do Patrimonio Arquitectónico e Arqueológico
Location of the National Archive within the municipality of Lisbon
Commons: Torre do Tombo

The National Archive of Torre do Tombo (Portuguese: Arquivo National da Torre do Tombo, [ɐɾˈkivu nɐsjuˈnaɫ dɐ ˈtoʁɨ ðu ˈtõbu]) is the Portuguese national archive established in 1378, located in center-north Lisbon, and renamed the Instituto dos Arquivos Nacionais (Institute of the National Archives) in 2009.


The archive is one of the oldest institutions in Portugal, since its installation in one of the towers of the castle in Lisbon, occurring during the reign of Ferdinand I, and likely in 1378 (the date where the first testimonal originated). The archive served as the King's and nobilities' reference, with documents supporting the administration of the kingdom and overseas territories, and documenting the relationships between the State and foreign kingdoms.

In 1982 a public tender was issued for the construction of the new Torre do Tombo archive building, and was won by the Ateliers Associados, represented by Arsénio Raposo Cordeiro, with M. Sheppard Cruz and A.N. de Almeida.[1] The cornerstone was laid in 1985, in an official ceremony. The sculptor José Aurélio was invited to sculpt the gargoyles in 1987, which completed between 1988-1990 (in conjunction with mason José Rodrigues and builder Júlio Mesão.[1]

In 1990, the archive in the National Palace of São Bento was moved to the new building, before the 21 December inauguration.[1]

On 22 December 2010, the DRCLVTejo proposed classifying the building as a municipal property of interest, which was supported on 28 January 2011, by a dispatch from the director of the IGESPAR.[1] On 17 May 2011, an announcement was published regarding the process to classify the building (Anúncio n.º 6998/2011, DR, 2.ª série, n.º 100), and by 1 August, a formal request to make the building a municipal property of interest was formalized by DRCLVTejo.[1] The National Council for Culture decided on 10 October 2011, that a classification was warranted, and provided their support. On 30 November 2011, a decision on the classification of this building was approved, and a Special Protection Zone was established (Anúncio n.º 17753/2011, DR, 2.ª série, n.º 230).[1]


Among the significant collections at the Arquivo are items relating to the Portuguese explorations and discoveries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Corpo Cronológico (Chronological Corpus), a collection of manuscripts on the Portuguese discoveries, was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007 in recognition of its historical value "for acquiring knowledge of the political, diplomatic, military, economic and religious history of numerous countries at the time of the Portuguese Discoveries." [2] Another item relating to the Portuguese discoveries, the Carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha (Letter from Pêro Vaz de Caminha), was also inscribed on the Memory of the World Register in 2005. This letter is the first document describing the land and people of what became Brazil.[3]

See also



Coordinates: 38°45′17″N 9°09′23″W / 38.7546°N 9.1565°W / 38.7546; -9.1565

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