The city that lives with its lights and colours.
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The tourist can visit a lot of places in Lisbon, because it is a city with a pleasant, relaxed and lively atmosphere at the same time. There you can simply enjoy the architectural beauties, sit at a table of bars with outdoor seating or wandering around with no hurry doing shopping or enjoy the excellent local cuisine. All this in the beautiful setting of monuments, Liberty-style buildings, museums, viewing points and gardens. A lot of points of interest are located in the centre and are within easy walking distance (although you must always bear in mind that Lisbon is made of continuous ascents and descents except in the city centre, which goes from Avenida da Libertade to Praça do Comercio).
ITINERARY 1: BAIXA AND CHIADO
The first itinerary will lead you to the discovery of Baixa and Chaido, the heart of Lisbon. Baixa starts from the banks of the Tagus and reaches the Lisbon’s main street, called Avenida da Liberada. Chaido district is located on the same hill as Barrio Alto and occupies the space which is right in front of Baixa. It has always been Lisbon cultural district, but today it is packed with elegant shop windows, large shops, bookshops and theatres. In 1988 a fire devastated a large part of it, although walking through its streets no one noticed that the buildings were entirely rebuilt.
From the funicular of Santa Justa, you will pass through the ruins of Carmo convent (Convento do Carmo) (A), destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 and the only example of Gothic architecture in Lisbon. Along Rua Garrett you will reach the Church of the Martyrs (Basílica dos Mártires) (B), built after the earthquake of 1755 on the site of a chapel founded by Afonso Henriques to commemorate the combatants who participated to Lisbon’s siege in 1147. Then you will pass through San Carlo Theatre (Teatro Nacional de São Carlos) (C), which is the Opera House of Lisbon, and Chiado Museum (Museu do Chiado), from the 1911 headquarter of contemporary art collections. Descending along the Ferragial you will reach the seventeenth-century Holy Body church (Igreja do Santo Corpo) (D) and, turning left towards Rua do Arsenal, the town Hall Square (Praça da Câmara Municipal) (e) where the town hall is located (Paços do Conselho). Built in 1774 and, before the current version defined the end of the 19th century, has undergone several modifications. To the east you will find the Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio) (F), entrance to the city and seat of various ministries.
At this stage you can continue towards the Patriarchal Cathedral (Sè in portuguese), along the river stations side that offer you the possibility to make a nice boat ride on the Tagus, and reach Campo das Cebolas, where you can admire the particular house called Dos Bicos, built in 1523 by Brás de Albuquerque, son of the first Governor of Portuguese India, passing through Our Lady of Conception Church (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição) with its manueline-style façade; otherwise you can cross the Victory Arch (Arco da Vitória) and continue on Rua Augusta, reserved exclusively to pedestrians and large “griffes”, which will take you to Praça Don Pedro IV (G), called by the citizens “Rossio”.
Continue to the right until Santo Domingo Church (Igreja de São Domingos) (H), dating back to 1241 and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755. Going towards the Travessa Nova you will come across Donna Maria II Theatre (Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II), whose neoclassical façade dates back to 1842; Building of medieval origin, it was the first diplomatic seat and later seat of the Holy Inquisition, until the eighteenth century. From Rua das Portas de Santo Antão you arrive at the sixteenth century Palace of Independence (Palácio da Independência) (I), and at Praça dos Restauradores (J). On the opposite side of this square is the Foz Palace, with its elegant red façade, built in the early 19th century by an Italian architect and now Lisbon Tourist office seat. Then the Neomanuelina Rossio railway station and the Glory (Glória) funicular, which gives access to Bairro Alto. As an alternative to the funicular you can go to Rossio and go up Rua do Carmo and Rua Garrett in the area called Chiado, destroyed by a fire in 1988 and rebuilt under the supervision of architect Siza Vieira.
ITINERARY 2: MOURARIA, CASTELO, ALFAMA
The second itinerary we propose will lead you to the discovery of Mouraria, Castelo and Alfáma, passing through the castle of St. George. Alfáma, the oldest area in Lisbon and now one of the most vibrant and original areas of the city, full of traditional rooms where you can enjoy the excellent typical cuisine and listen to the melancholic Fado.
From the metro station Martin Moniz (A), in Rua do Capelão, continue towards Rua da Mouraria until you reach the Chapel of Our Lady of Health (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Saúde) with its beautiful azulejos and carved altar, which you can visit in the afternoon during the mass. In the renovated Martin Moniz Largo you will find the multi-ethnic shopping centre of Mouraria. Take a closer look at the picturesque area of Mouraria through the Escadinha da Saúde (Health Staicase). Continuing towards Largo da Rosa you will come across the homonymous convent and San Lorenzo Church (Igreja de San Lorenzo). Continue towards Largo da Achada passing in front of San Cristoforo Church (Igreja de São Cristóvão) (B) and going up the Calçada Marquês de Tancos.
Moving along Rua da Costa do Castelo you will pass in front of the Circus School of Chapitô (Escola Profissional de Artes and Ofícios do Espectáculo do Chapitô) (C), born as a circus training project and street theatre for dis-advantaged youths and today multi-purpose center. Descending the staircase of San Crispim (Escadinha de San CRISPIM), you will reach Rua de São Mamede (D), where you can admire Enraceo Velho Palace (Palacio de Toruno Velho). Passing through Travessa do Almada, you will reach the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Igreja de Santa Maria Madalena) (E), while from Rua da Sé you will reach Largo di Santo António, home of some taverns and the Antonino museum (Museu Antonino) (F), where you can find objects of sacred art, clothes, books and all kinds of objects that have something to do with the life of the saint, closed on Mondays. The Patriarchal Cathedral (Sé) (G) is placed at a higher point. Built in 1150 on the ground of an old mosque by the wish of Alfonso I of Portugal, and transformed over the centuries; Worthy of note is the treasure, made up of magnificent objects of sacred art.
Going up the Rua Augusto Rosa you will arrive at the Santa Lucia viewpoint (Belvedere di Santa Luzia) (H), from which you can enjoy the view of the Tagus and Alfama district and admire Santa Lucia Church (Igreja de Santa Luzia), built by the Order of the Knights of Malta during the reign of Afonso Henriques and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755; On the external wall of the building there are two azulejos of XVII-XVIII century, representing the ancient Terreiro do Paco and the conquest of Lisbon.
San Giorgio Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) (I) is a compulsory tourist stop which can be reached via Rua San Tiago and with the help of a map of the city. Built by the Visigoths in the 5th century, it was enlarged by the Moors in the 9th century and conquered in 1147 by Alfonso Henriques; After the period of the 13th-16th century under Manuel I, the complex fell into oblivion and was used as a military district and prison. From the Castle gardens we can enjoy a wonderful view of the city and the estuary. In Largo Portas do Sol (J) you can admire the landscape and visit Fondazione Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva (Fundacao Ricardo Espirito Santo), or get off the stairway of the arch on the right up to Largo of San Miguel and the Church of Santo Stefano ( Igreja de Santo Estêvão) (K), built in the 12th century and remodelled several times over six centuries; The choir and the beautiful polychrome wooden statue of St Teresa of Avila are worthy of visit. From Rua dos Remédios you will arrive at Largo Chafariz de Dentro and to the Museum of Fado (Museu do Fado) (L) where, through audiovisual, wax statues, music archives and illustrative panels, you will understand the socio-cultural impact of this music in the twentieth century and its evolution through different historical periods.
ITINERARY 3: BELEM
At the end we can make a tour in the western part of the city, the district of Belém, where a set of museums, monuments and infrastructures aimed at the promotion of interesting cultural initiatives can be found.
The visit begins from Belém Palace (Palácio Nacional de Belém) (A), with its beautiful pink façade, residence of the President of the Republic; During the earthquake of 1755 the palace had a decisive role in the royal family fate, because Joseph I and the family managed to survive the devastation that hit the city right there. In 1912, with the birth of the Portuguese Republic, the palace became the official presidential residence. Rising up along Calçada do Galvão you will reach the tropical Agricultural Garden-Museum (Jardim Museu Agricola Tropical), made at the beginning of the twentieth century as a laboratory in the open air to test and grow plants coming from the empire. Between the plants: trees, tobacco, herbs and spices from Macao, Goa, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola and other countries; Inside you will find interesting Italian sculptures of the eighteenth century and, at the entrance of the Oriental Garden, a scenographic Chinese arch.
Next steps are the Jerónimos Monastery (Monastery dos Jerónimos) (B) built by King Manuel I to celebrate the return of the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama after discovering the route to India, and the National Museum of Archaeology (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia), founded in 1893 and currently a reference institution of Portuguese archaeology; Inside the most important Portuguese archaeological collection with ornaments, mosaics and jewels of the Iron, Romanesque, Celtic and Visigoths Ages, with an Egyptian section. At Praça do Império you will find the Planetario Calouste Gulbenkian (Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian), with a 23-metre dome in which you can have a glimpse of the starry sky on Portugal and make an imaginary journey through the planets, with various projections and numerous audiovisual documents; the Navy Museum (Museu de Marinha) (C), an important collection of historical maps and ship models belonging to the period of discoveries and the present day. Then visit the spectacular Cultural Center of Belém (Centro Cultural de Belém) (D), built to be the seat of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) and from 1993 used as a cultural and conference centre, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Tagus and the Belém Garden (Jardim de Belém). Pass through the underpass and visit the Wonderful Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) (e), built to celebrate the 500 years after the death of one of the most famous historic figure in Portuguese history, Henry the Navigator; The peculiarity of the monument is that you can explore it entirety, thanks to the stairs and an the elevator that will take you up to the sixth floor, where you can admire all the river coast and the Belém region.
Walking through the riverside, you will reach the Folk Art Museum (Museu de art Popular) (F), where clothing, games, ceramics and historical testimonies from different Portugal regions are collected. Going ahead in the direction of Doca do Bom Sucesso, you will arrive at the famous Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) (G), a UNESCO World Heritage site, symbol of the important role that Portugal played in the era of great exploration; The tower was commissioned by King John II as a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river and as a ceremonial entrance to Lisbon, built in the early 16th century in the Portuguese Manueline style. Not far away is the Fortress of Good Success (Forte do BOM success).
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