Xistopedia

Peace Tower

Peace Tower
heritage
The Piece Tower is a Building of Municipal Interest.
It began life under the name “Salazar Tower”. After 25 April 1974 it changed its name to “Peace Tower”. In the village, however, until its restoration in 2002, it was simply called the “Clock Tower”. It now has a certain uniqueness because towers promoting peace must surely be rare in this world. Classified as a Building of Municipal Interest, is built on a square plan three metres by three metres and is 11 metres high. In its upper part two openings house its two bells. The dome is granite.

THE BELL OF PEACE

The so-called “Bell of Peace” bears the following inscription “DR. MÁRIO MATHIAS ORDERED THIS TO BE MADE IN 1945”. It was cast in Almada by the firm “Manoel F. Couzinha”. It weighs 6 kg and was hung in the Peace Tower in April 1945. Their purpose was engraved on it in the following inscription: “THIS BELL RANG FOR THE FIRST TIME TO ANNOUNCE THE END OF THE WAR IN EUROPE IN 1945”.

THE CLOCK

The clock is, as a whole, an extraordinary piece of machinery. Several parts of the mechanism bear phrases that eulogise Peace. On one is engraved “LET US BLESS PEACE”. And on another “PEACE BE WITH US”. Constructed by Manuel Francisco Cousinha, a native of Pomares – the next-door parish to Benfeita – a famous clockmaker of the period and owner of the firm “A BOA CONSTRUTORA”, located in Almada.

THE PEOPLE OF BENFEITA KNEW FIRST

In 1945 the outcome of the war was decided. Everyone expected the day of the Nazi surrender, but in the village and for all those connected with it, this desire was joined by anxiety that the tower and the bell would fulfil their purpose. In this spirit of collusion, an employee of a British company, the husband of a villager, learned of the signing of the armistice and immediately telephoned to Benfeita to impart the good news. Chimes echoed around these hills and valleys and immediately everybody knew that peace had arrived.

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