A year ago today we began our pack-out from our home in Lisbon. My family and I spent three years in Portugal developing friendships and making wonderful memories. I cannot say enough in Portugal’s praise. While the Brits are fully aware of Portugal’s charms, I feel many Americans don’t realize what a wonderful European destination it is. The beaches and countryside are simply gorgeous and history abounds in medieval towns, Moorish strongholds, and Roman ruins.
Since I did not have a blog while living in Portugal, I have designated June “Portugal Month” and begin with a sightseeing tour of downtown Lisbon. I sorted through three years of pics for my favorites. Hope you enjoy!
In 1755 a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Lisbon and destroyed the entire Baixa (lower town). During reconstruction, a grand square was built where the royal palace once stood. Praça do Comércio (Commercial Square) is flanked by lovely arcades on three sides and the Tejo (Tagus) River on the forth.
A statue of King Jose I on horseback stands on a pedestal in the middle of the square; he was king during the reconstruction period.
Praça do Comércio is a prefect place to begin a sightseeing tour of Lisbon.
The dramatic Arch of Triumph (Arco da Vitória)
On the other side of the arch is Rua Augusta – a wide, cobblestone, pedestrian street filled with many shops, restaurants, and cafes.
After the earthquake of 1755, building materials were in high demand and the Portuguese started encasing their houses in their colorful tiles (azulejos); the tradition continues.
Bacalhau – good thing it tastes better than it smells 🙂
The Santa Justa Elevator was built by Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, and connects the lower town (Baixa) with upper town (Bairro Alta).
Stairs to the viewing platform.
Looking towards the Tejo, you can see the Alfama neighborhood and the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) on the hillside.
Castelo de São Jorge sits atop the hill. Through the years, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors have built fortifications there.
Rossio square with its wave pattern cobblestones.
And Figueira Square with its statue of King João I on horseback.
The ruins of Igreja do Carmo – tragically the roof caved in during the 1755 earthquake. It was November 1st, All Saints Day, and the church was filled with people. This combination of earthquake and tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters ever, around 75,000 people lost their lives.
Double horseshoe entrance to the Rossio Railway Station.
Stay tuned – the Alfama is my next set of photos to tackle.