Architecture, monuments, and structures, Lisbon
Favorite thing: The Vasco da Gama bridge is a Cable-stayed bridge and it was inaugurated on the 4th of April 1998. Vasco da Gama is the largest bridge in Europe with a length of 17.2 km (10 miles), 10 km of which are over the river Tagus and it is located right next to the Parque das Nações.
Between Rossio and Restauradores squares at Largo João da Câmara, stands the original late 19th century building of the Estação do Rossio, Rossio train station. It is a masterpiece and a Romantic recreation of the exuberant Manueline style (typical of early 16th century) with an interesting façade with 2 horse-shoe shaped arches (where you see written “Estação Central”, central station) and the statue of king Sebastião set between them.
Sebastião was our only king to die in a war. Sebastião had plans for a great crusade against the kingdom of Morocco since his childhood. But those were bad times for the nation as the young king took almost all of the country's nobility, and against the advice of his commanders, marched to this war with unprepared (and much less) troops. At the Battle of Alcácer Quibir (Battle of the Three Kings) the Portuguese army was routed by Abd Al-Malik, and Sebastião was almost certainly killed in battle. Whether his body was ever found is uncertain and this led many Portuguese to believe Sebastião survived the battle and would return to claim his throne. This led to Sebastianism: the belief that Sebastian could return at any moment, according to the saying “in a foggy morning”.
Back to the station. Looking more like an adorned palace, the building was designed by the architect José Luiz Monteiro and it begun in 1887, the official opening taking place on June 1890 a time when train stations were seen as temples of technology.
The Station astonishes for his facade of eight doors that combine with the nine windows and with its watch in a small turret with an abundant sculptural decoration. It is one of the strangest architectural complexes housing a rail terminal in Europe (and I know some), and the actual platforms from which the trains leave are located 30 m above the street-level. If you enter from the main entrance there are escalators up to that level and the platforms are easy to find. The access of trains to the station (really in the heart of the city), is made by a tunnel more than 2600 m long. This tunnel was excavated under the city and is considered one of the most important works of engineering of Portugal in the 19th century. For many years covered in grey, because of all the pollution around the station was closed for over three years for major renovation, got its original white color, and reopened in February of 2008.
Beside the station there is a Beaux-Arts style hotel building, the Hotel Avenida, inaugurated in 1892 and also built by José Luís Monteiro. A nice view from the nearby downtown area can be spotted from the Escadinhas do Duque -the stairs on the back part of the station that leads to Bairro Alto. This is also a cheap typical restaurant area (some houses offer fado).
Most of Lisbon’s buses stop nearby at the Rossio square and the closest metro stations are “Rossio” (green line) and Restauradores (blue line).
Lisbon is full of beautiful squares. I have listed a few worth seeing squares in my "Things to do" tips, but there are many more to discover:
Praca da Figueria: Located just east from Rossio square, Praca da Figueira is home to a bronze statue of King Joao I. It is lined with shops and cafes and offers a nice view to the castle.
Praca do Municipio: With the neo-classical city hall, the small Praca do Municipio is one of the finest squares in Lisbon. It is situated just west of the huge Praca do Comercio.
Praca Marques de Pombal: One of the busiest roundabouts in Lisbon. It is marked by a central statue of Marquis de Pombal who was in charge of Lisbon's reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. Praca Marques de Pombal can be found at the end of the Avenida da Liberdade.
Although Lisbon was devasted by an earthquake in 1755, it is still rich in architecture.
Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Post-Modern constructions can be found all over the city. A special Portuguese architectural style is the Manueline which represents Portugal's discovery years (15th/16th century).
So just keep your eyes open when wandering around Lisbon, there is loads to see.
From the top of Cristo Rei we can appreciate the 25 de Abril bridge, it is similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The 25th of April Bridge it is also known as Bridge over the Tagus. It was inaugurated in 1966 with the name 'Salazar Bridge', the dictator who had it built. It was later renamed to commemorate the 'Carnation Revolution' that happened on the 25th of April 1974, when the soldiers placed carnations in the muzzles of their rifles as they led the revolt against the world's longest dictatorship.
We cross the long bridge (2.278km long) to go to Almada and visit Cristo Rei Sanctuary.
Astounding view we had from there.
It was designed by an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel and was opened in 1902.
This lift connects Baixa (the lower city) to the Bairro Alto (the upper city) by a passageway. From the top of this elevator you can enjoy a beautiful landscape over part of the city.
Elevador de S. Justa is located in Rua de Santa Justa. This street is not far from Rossio.
Mercado da Ribeira is a unique domed building with tile (azulejos) panels is an emblematic building in Lisbon and a rare example of iron based architecture still preserved today. The other big market downtown Lisbon (also in iron and glass works) was in Praça da Figueira but it was demolished in the late 1940’s and gave place to an open space where later on the 1970’s a bronze equestrian statue of King João I was added. The Mercado da Ribeira, inaugurated in 1882, has kept is original lines and still serves as one of the Lisbon main markets for fresh fish, meat, vegetables, flowers, etc. In the beginning of the 21st century the upper floor has been converted to a different “market” -now we have painting galleries, a place for book fairs and other events of this sort. We can also find a good restaurant (soups, hot meals, salads, all-you-can-eat buffet at lunch, and “à la carte” at dinners), a coffee-bar, and shops selling wines and handicrafts from all over Lisbon region. Also popular amongst the seniors are the “dancing afternoons” all year round and the collectors fair, on Sundays morning.
This area (Cais do Sodré) was always known by its bars (some with prostitution -remember this was the place of the arsenal and the main docs... and every sailor has its needs). Presently the all area -Avenida 24 de Julho, Santos district and Alcântara district (Docas)- houses an eclectic mixture of discos and bars quite popular among the youngsters (they prepare all sorts of alcoholic shots) with a more eclectic mixture of music genres -from fado to techno, electro, hip hop, ethnic, and all sorts of trendy music.
Along with that and inside the Market we still have the once very famous “Cacau da Ribeira” (Ribeira’s cocoa) intended to “warm up” the stallholders and market vendors (waking up quite earlier in the morning) but mostly known by all the bohemian Lisbonners during my young years (not necessarily by the quality of the hot chocolate). This was the meeting point for thousands of teenagers after a night at the disco and bars in Lisbon and before heading to sleep.
The Market stands in front to the %L[http:// www.cp.pt]Cais do Sodré railway station (Cascais line), and the area is served by several city bus lines, a metro line, and boats coming from the other shore of the river. A promenade along the river (close to the docs and the train station area) in the Passeio Ribeirinho (riverside walks) is very pleasant.
Market: from 5am – 2pm
Restaurant: 12 – 3:30pm and (Tue – Sat) 12 – 2 am
Avenida 24 de Julho
Comercio Square which opens onto the River, is dominated by the ARCO DE TRIUNFO, and leads to Rua Augusta, one of Lisbon's main pedestrian streets. Upon entering the street, you will see Santa Justa Elevator on your left.
In Barocque style, the Arch has statues of Vasco da Gama. the famous Portuguese explorer and Marques de Pombal. who rebuilt Lisbon after the devastating 1755 earthquake. The surface of the Arch facing the interior, features a large clock.
On either side of the Arch, the yellow buildings are mostly government offices.
It is such an impressive Monument and shows how Lisbon triumphantly rose up from the ruins of the earthquake.
This military masterpiece, was built in the early 16th century in the Manueline style. TORRE DE BELEM is a fortified tower located in the Belem District of Lisbon. The Tower, constructed between 1515 and 1521, was built as part of a defensive system at the entrance to the River Tagus.
Moorish influence can be seen in the decorations - the arched windows, the balconies and the ribbed cupolas of the watchtowers. Originally, the Tower stood on a little island near the right bank of the River Tagus. With the progressive creep of the shoreline over the years, the Tower is now on the bank itself.
I must say that the Belem Tower is my absolute favourite Lisbon structure. It's just so beautiful and in such lovely surroundings.
Belem Tower became a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1983.
Located on Praca da Torre de Sao Vicente, Belem
Located in Belem, on the banks of the River Tagus MONUMENT TO THE DISCOVERIES or Padrao dos Descobrimentos was inaugurated in 1960 to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Designed in the shape of a ship's bow, showing Henry at the prow holding a small replica of a ship. Immediately behind Henry are Manuel I and the poet Luis de Camoes. As well, many other heroes of Portuguese history are depicted - Vasco da Gama - Pedro Alvares Cabral - Fernao Magalhaes and many others.
The massive monument is impressive with its over 50 meters height. You can access the top by the elevator located inside the monument. The front entrance is shaped like a huge sword.
On the pavement in front of the monument is a large mosaic world map.
Favorite thing: Praça do Commercio is one of the best known squares in Lisbon. The Marques de Pombal rebuilt this part of the city after the 1755 earthquake. Praça do Commercio is located at the riverfront and the decorated arch leads to a pedestrian district with streets like Rua Augusta, full of shops and restaurants.
The area the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is located in was renewed for the EXPO '98 and many say that the exposition's success depended on the urban remake and the environmental clean-up of the area, a former industrial area.
Fondest memory: I loved the fountains in the Parque as they were CRAZY, sprinkling water here and there :) And it was so hot that people took the chance to have a shower!
The Vasco da Gama bridge reaches 11km across the River Tagus and is one of the longest bridges in the world. This is not a good picture, but, believe me, it's very hard to see the other end of the bridge from one side of the river.
The bridge was officially open on March 31, 1998.
One of the things that you should see and know are our monuments..they dating from the era of the Discoveries and some are even classief by Unesco as Wrold Heritage Sites, like Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower..you could not leave lisbon until you visit at least these two and St. Georges's Castle.
You can find more information about Monuments in libon in mu travelogue.
Fondest memory: If you could go at sunset, to Belém Tower..and take a photo to the river, to the south bank of Tagus River..it's very beautiful..and from here you can see Lisbon, from the two sides of the river.
This used-to-be a multipurpose building (fortress, royal residence and prison) and it offers splendid views in all directions.
Little remains of the palace are still left.
There is a restaurant and a small café where refreshments can be taken before moving on.