Historic Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal

Historic buildings dating back to the 1500s in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

Historic buildings dating back to the 1500s in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

 

Portugal’s capital city, Lisboa (Lisbon), has been occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Portuguese settlers over the past 3,000 years.  The tiles on the oldest buildings are original — hand crafted, many are three dimensional.  Beginning in the 19th century the manufacture of the facade tiles was done in factories, rather than by artisans; however, they continued to be used as the facades of many new buildings.  While most of the ancient buildings serve as underground foundations for what we see today, many of the similar looking buildings in the city center historic districts date to the reconstruction of the city after the devastating earthquake of November 1, 1755.

 

A "widows walk" atop an historic building near the Tagus River, dating back to the 1500s, in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

A “widows walk” atop an historic building near the Tagus River, dating back to the 1500s, in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

 

Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square, also known as Black horse Square) is near the Tagus River in historic downtown Lisbon, Portugal

Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square, also known as Black horse Square) is near the Tagus River in historic downtown Lisbon, Portugal

 

Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square, also known as Black horse Square) is near the Tagus River in historic downtown Lisbon, Portugal.  It is still commonly known as Terriero do Paco (Palace Yard) because it was the location of the Pacos da Ribeira (Royal Ribeira Palace) until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

 

The symmetrical buildings of Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities, Lisbon, Portugal

The symmetrical buildings of Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities, Lisbon, Portugal

 

“On 1 November 1755, during the reign of King Dom Jose I, a great earthquake, followed by a tsunami and fire destroyed most of Lisbon, including the Ribeira Palace and other buildings by the river. José I’s Prime Minister, the Marquis of Pombal, coordinated a massive rebuilding effort of Portuguese architect Eugénio dos Santos.  He designed a large, rectangular square in the shape of a “U”, open towards the Tagus.  The buildings have galleries on their groundfloors, and the arms of the “U” end in two large towers, reminiscent of the monumental tower of the destroyed Ribeira Palace, still vivid in the architectonic memory of the city.  His plan was realised almost completely, although decorative details were changed and the east tower of the square and the Augusta Street Arch were only finished in the 19th century.

“The square was named Praça do Comércio, the Square of Commerce, to indicate its new function in the economy of Lisbon.  The symmetrical buildings of the square were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities.  The main piece of the ensemble was the equestrian statue of King José I, inaugurated in 1775 in the centre of the square.  This bronze statue, the first monumental statue dedicated to a King in Lisbon, was designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, Portugal’s foremost sculptor of the time.” – Wikipedia

 

A typical street in historic Lisbon’s downtown, with offices and apartments constructed to replace the buildings that had been destroyed by Lisbon, Portugal’s historically significant (and worst in history) earthquake of November 1, 1755

A typical street in historic Lisbon’s downtown, with offices and apartments constructed to replace the buildings that had been destroyed by Lisbon, Portugal’s historically significant (and worst in history) earthquake of November 1, 1755

 

The typical little yellow, historic electric-trolley, “eléctrico 28” is legendary now and tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself, Lisbon, Portugal

The typical little yellow, historic electric-trolley, “eléctrico 28” is legendary now and tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself, Lisbon, Portugal

 

An excellent way to get a good overview and impression of the historical city of Lisbon is to ride the typical little yellow, historic electric-trolley, “eléctrico 28”.  The legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself (and it attracts a large number of pickpockets who prey off the tourists!); it goes all around town — of course, you can hop on and hop off.

 

Elevador de Santa Justa (the Santa Justa lift) is hilly Lisbon’s only vertical lift open for public use, Lisbon, Portugal

Elevador de Santa Justa (the Santa Justa lift) is hilly Lisbon’s only vertical lift open for public use, Lisbon, Portugal

 

Inaugurated in July 1902 and classified as a National monument 100 years later in 2002, the Elevador de Santa Justa (the Santa Justa lift) is hilly Lisbon’s only vertical lift open for public use.  Built by Portuguese architect and engineer, Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, an apprentice of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the extraordinary neo-gothic landmark features a cast iron structure and was built to connect the lowest and highest points of the city.  The 147 foot (45 meters) lift, once powered by steam, also has a miradouro (belvedere) and café at the top of its spiral staircase where visitors can enjoy magnificent views of the city.

 

Fábrica Sant’Anna, established on 1741, is the last big factory of tiles and pottery craft in Europe; Lisbon, Portugal

Fábrica Sant’Anna, established on 1741, is the last big factory of tiles and pottery craft in Europe; Lisbon, Portugal

 

Fábrica Sant’Anna is a Portuguese ceramic factory, established on 1741, that produces all its products according to the oldest handcraft techniques since the clay preparation until the hand painted phase.  It is the last big factory of tiles and pottery craft in Europe.  Sant’Anna’s tiles and pottery collection are totally handmade.  Its artistic quality is recognized on its product’s decoration and painting giving Sant’Anna the quality and unity that characterize the most important world’s companies.  Born from a traditional Portuguese Art, Sant’Anna’s ceramics are products of excellence made to all over the world.

 

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is Time Out’s transformation of Lisbon’s main market hall into a foodie hangout; Portugal

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is Time Out’s transformation of Lisbon’s main market hall into a foodie hangout; Portugal

 

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is Time Out’s transformation of Lisbon’s main market hall into a foodie hangout that brings together some of the city’s favourite food shops and restaurants.  Mercado da Ribeira has had many guises – its roots can be traced back to the 13th century, and it was once one of the most famous fish markets in Europe.  Many of its traders have been selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers there for decades – the place is part of the fabric of Lisbon.  When Time Out learned in 2010 that the city council was seeking bids for the chance to manage a large part of the iconic attraction, it couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  The Time Out Mercado da Ribeira now brings together some of the city’s most loved names in food and drink.

 

An artist used the facade of an historic building near the Port of Lisbon and the Tagus River as his "canvas", in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

An artist used the facade of an historic building near the Port of Lisbon and the Tagus River as his “canvas”, in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal

 

3 thoughts on “Historic Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal

    • Lisbon and (next port) Oporto are great cities and a nice contrast between the Mediterranean ports and those along the Bay of Biscay and Brittany; its nice to revisit and explore new districts, new restaurants and new wineries!

      Like

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