I’m just back from a wonderful vacation to Lisbon during which I took hundreds of photographs, so advance warning to those who are more interested in local history and culture: this is definitely going to be a “streets of Lisbon” week! I’ve been to Portugal several times before, but my last visit was quite a while ago, and I never spent more than a few days in the capital so there were many discoveries: plus Lisbon is incredibly photogenic as it is so full of texture and color. I walked everywhere so I could capture every little detail, only popping on a yellow tram near the end of a long day when I was looking up at yet another hill (there are seven, just like Rome) which had something I had to see at its top. We had wonderful weather, and Lisbon appeared very bright and shiny, with its multichromatic buildings, both tiled and color-washed, contrasting with its black and white sidewalks and squares. Yellow popped out particularly, not just on the trams but also on private and public buildings and even the cranes which hovered over sections of the city. Like so many other cities, Lisbon appears to be having a building boom, encompassing both the construction of new structures and the “renewal” of others. It’s a city that has always embraced the new and cherished the old in a particularly effective way, certainly since the devastating earthquake of 1755 and no doubt well before, as it is an ancient settlement. I’ve got my favorite photos from the trip today, and my next posts will focus on the sidewalks and shops of Lisbon, then I’ll get back to some Salem stuff (though I think I have enough photos to feature Lisbon for some time).
The arch of the Praça do Comércio, the Square of Commerce, is the proper entry to Lisbon, from the sea, but it’s a nineteenth-century construction after the rebuilding of the square following the earthquake of 1755. A great mural in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga shows the pre-1755 square. The Church of The Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, the ruins of the Cormo Convent (another memorial to the losses of 1755), the interior of Lisbon Cathedral, just another beautiful church square, and a quote by the 18th century Jesuit father Antonio Vieira “Para nascer, Portugal. Para morrer, o mundo” testifying to the still-evident Portuguese pride in its global reach.
I’m trying to show the integration and proximity of new and old with these pictures, which include several streetscapes, views from the Castelo de S. Jorge, the Church of São Vicente of Fora, and a shot of the botanical garden, but they also present a lot of yellow, a very conspicuous color in Lisbon.
Belem: site of the iconic Manueline Jerónimos Monastery and Belem Tower + tarts and the maritime history and coach museums, and a very strident 20th-century monument to the discoveries.
Museums: so many! History museums and museums of every conceivable form of art: “ancient” (pre-1850), modern, decorative, TILES, marionettes. The famous Gulbenkian collection and several less well-known house museums: I was blown away by the Casa–Museu Medeiros e Almeida in particular. I have a new appreciation for Portuguese artists of the Renaissance (Gregório Lopes in particular: look at that Martyrdom of St. Sebastian). And I couldn’t leave without visiting the Museu da Farmácia, of course.
March 17th, 2019 at 9:33 pm
I’ve never been there
the place is so Lovely…..
March 18th, 2019 at 6:48 am
Go, go, go!
March 17th, 2019 at 9:42 pm
I love how they adapted modernity to the old, narrow and steep streets. No parking on either side, trams down the centre and giant open squares for mingling. The multi-coloured buildings and the Lisbon tiles make this a very special city.
March 18th, 2019 at 6:54 am
Next post is just about the streets and sidewalks, as I was very taken with them too.
March 18th, 2019 at 4:17 am
As you talk about Lisbon as a repeat visitor, what is the most “touristy” thing do you still enjoy doing there? What’s the furthest you get out of “tourist space?” And just to be clear, I am not making a value judgment here, albeit the only familiar words I have available make it sound otherwise. After all, going to a museum is “touristy,” and I’m definitely not against that!
March 18th, 2019 at 6:54 am
I do think the whole center city area by the water is very touristy and becoming more so—some Lisboners told me they were afraid that too many buildings were being converted to hotels when I praised all the restoration I saw. But it’s still beautiful and Lisboners are there too. Belem was full of tourists too; but it’s still beautiful. American tourists are not as conspicuous in Lisbon as European tourists—lots of British, French and Germans.
March 19th, 2019 at 8:44 pm
Beautiful photos!!! I visited Lisbon several years ago…did you see the optical illusion brick designs in the plazas??