Local traditions and culture in Lisbon

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Lisbon

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    Coretos

    by solopes Updated Dec 17, 2013

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    God, I'm old!

    I was going to write about the familiar Sunday programs in the gardens, living nature and enjoying the music played in the band stands.

    Music was gone, (families are going...), nature is poluted, but a few band stands are still there. Some of them still with "artistic" use - grafitti instead of music - some other, just there.

    Signs of the not so old Lisbon, for instance in Pr. José Fontana, facing Camões my high school from 1956 to...

    God! I'm old...

    Lisbon - Portugal
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    The most "African square"

    by solopes Updated Mar 7, 2013

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    If you visit Rossio, the most central square in Lisbon, you may feel in Africa, due to the prevalence of black people in the area. Since the abandon of the colonies, the refugees use to gather in the area, that with the transference of commerce to the big malls is being skipped by the locals.

    Tourists and Africans are, nowadays, the great part of the dwellers and passersby.

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    Artistic Sugar

    by solopes Updated Mar 7, 2013

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    Pastry is famous in Portugal, mainly for its taste and diversity, but, sometimes, it mixes with art, with surprising results.

    In the carriages museum sugar was used to built a replica of one of the displayed coaches.

    Lisbon - Portugal
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    Fishing

    by solopes Updated Dec 16, 2012

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    After many years despising the river, the inhabitants of Lisbon are gradually learning to enjoy it. Restaurants and bars line the north bank, and fishing is a popular sport.

    New rules may turn it more difficult (and expensive) but, for my surprise, some samples justify the costs and risks.

    However, only locals or fishing maniacs would spend all those hours looking at the water and missing... Lisbon.

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    Calçada Portuguesa

    by Ines_ Written Dec 5, 2012

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    One thing I love in Lisbon is the pavement. It’s called “Calçada Portuguesa” and it can be seen all over the city, but in Baixa, the old part of the town, it has more drawings. The stones are usually limestone and basalt, white and black. The majority is white giving the city a different and lighter light. In Portuguese, the name of the workers who do these pavements is “calceteiros”.

    Ladies, don’t try to use high heels on our streets because is quite tougher and the heel can get stuck in the between the stones ;)

    So, star looking at the pavement and get your cameras ready!

    by: http://katarzynajaskiewicz.tumblr.com/

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    Ginjinha

    by pure1942 Written Feb 1, 2011

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    Ginjinha is a sticky syrupy liqueur particular to Portugal and especially Lisbon. The sweet drink is made from the Ginja berry, which is not unlike a sour cherry. Ginjinha is a popular tipple at all times of the day in Lisbon but especially in the evening where locals gather to knock back the sweet drink, accompanied by a cherry which is served in the glass. Largo de Sao Domingos is the location of the most famous of all Ginjinha bars – simply called ‘A Ginjinha’ but Barrio Alto is another popular spot.

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    Manueline Architecture

    by pure1942 Written Feb 1, 2011

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    You won’t be in Lisbon for long before you hear references to Manueline Architecture and see examples for yourself. This architecture came into style during the reign of Manuel I and is recognised by extravagant use of knotted and twisted rope motifs carved from stone, maritime influences, elaborate relief carving, twisted stone pillars and Gothic and Moorish touches. Important reoccurring motifs include the armillary sphere (symbol of Manuel I himself) and the Cross of the Order of Christ.
    Some of the best places to witness this architectural style include the portal of the church of Conceicao Velha, Torre de Belem, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Sintra.

    Armillary Sphere Mosteiro dos Jeronimos Balcony on the Torre de Belem Rope Knots Santa Maria Interior

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    Azulejos

    by pure1942 Written Feb 1, 2011

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    Portugal is famous for these glazed tiles and you will find plenty of fine examples of colourful azulejos all over Lisbon. The tradition came to Lisbon through the Moors and the Portuguese took up the methods and techniques involved in their fabrication with enthusiasm. The tiles can be seen gracing the walls of both the interior and exterior of many buildings and come in a huge variety of styles and colours although the blue and white Baroque era tiles are the most famous. If you really want to feast your eyes on a true azulejo masterpiece, head for the Capela de Sao Filipe in Setubal.

    Azulejos Azulejos at Sintra Intricate azulejos in the Barrio Alto Azulejos in Graca Azulejos in Alfama

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    Pastel do Nata

    by pure1942 Written Feb 1, 2011

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    These little pieces of heaven can be found in every Pasteleria and coffee shop in Lisbon and are reason enough to visit the city! The little custard based pastries are not unlike crème brulee but are encased in a flaky pastry and are about 100 times better. Best place to try them is in Belem but there are other good spots to try them in the centre. Sao Nicolau Pasteleria is a good spot on Rua Augusta. Brought back memories of Macau where they are called Portuguese Egg Tarts and was the first place I tried them.

    Pastel do Nata

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    Basic language

    by Durfun Written Apr 8, 2010

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    Just learn some Portuguese words, it's endearing when one makes an effort!

    Hi = Ola
    Please = faz favor
    Speak English? = fale inglis?
    Thank you = obrigada (feminine)
    Don't understand = nao percebo
    Excuse me = Com licença (sounds like kong lee-SEN-sa).

    Otherwise, with your English, you're good to go :)

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    Look down, you're walking on an artform.

    by SOLODANCER Updated Sep 2, 2009

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    It's hard to really miss it and you'd be foolish to do so. After all, it's what this great city is paved with and rather extensively all throughout that inevitably one could feel as tho walking upon an entire canvass of some primitive art and art form. And it is primitive, as primitive as any deeply embedded within the context of Portugal's history. How far back this particular art form goes, hard for me to tell at this point which clearly demands that of further investigation.

    Lisbon's artistic cobbled streets are this very art form. Practically every street, alley, corner, even cul-de-sac in the city's neighborhoods are greatly designed and decorated by this particular type of stone work composed mostly of black and white tiny square blocks of cobble. And the individual style and art work is as varied as the many workman's hands that tirelessly cut and shape each one which are carefully measured and put down together in a most unimaginable time and energy-intensive labor there is. There are geometric designs, highly floral, maritime, art noveau, coat of arms, etc. coming from each artistic minded laborer which if I recall correctly are called 'calzateiros'.

    These artistic pavements are the mainstays of Lisbon and are purely Portuguese in character and originality. One would find this eye-catching designs everywhere else in Portugal but none as prodigious, widespread and remarkable as in Lisbon. But one can be able to appreciate them of course only when the visitor is in the habit of exploring the old city especially on foot and so notices the pavement he's walking on. Otherwise, it's like seeing oneself walk in one's dream and yet the sensation that the journey as never having been felt nor taken.

    So next time you're in Lisbon, thread your steps slow and meditate on the stones your feet are placed upon.

    Lisbon:  divine pathways
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    Pavements

    by toonsarah Written Jun 12, 2009

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    When you are not looking up at the walls of buildings, look down at the pavements to see another characteristic feature of any Portuguese town or city – the black and white mosaic patterns created through the use of small square cobbles. These pavements, known as Calçada Portuguesa, can be found wherever the Portuguese have made their mark, including their former colonies such as Brazil. In a large city such as Lisbon you will find many different designs, from the undulating waves of the Rossio (see photo 2) to the more geometric patterns on the streets of the Baxia (my main photo was taken in the Rua Aurea at the foot of the Santa Justa lift).

    But there are concerns that this may be a dying craft. It is hard to attract young people to work as calceteiros, as those who lay the stones are called, as the work is laborious and not well-paid (you can see two calceteiros, photographed repairing a pavement in Cascais in photo 3). Also, the stones can be slippery when wet (or even when dry, as I can testify) and are out of line with the modern emphasis on health and safety. I think it would be a real shame however if the streets of Lisbon were no longer to be lined with these distinctive pavements.

    Pavement in the Baixa Rossio from the Santa Justa lift Calceteiros

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    Azulejos

    by toonsarah Written Jun 12, 2009

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    I defy anyone to be able to wander Lisbon’s streets for more than a few minutes and fail to be captivated by the myriad wonderful examples of the traditional art form of glazed tiles or azulejos. Nothing for me shouts “Portugal” as loudly as one of these beautiful blue panels, or ornate street signs, or even whole buildings gleaming in the sun. You will find them everywhere - on walls of churches and monasteries; in palaces and on ordinary houses; adorning park seats, fountains, shops, and railway stations. Their images may be of saints, or of historical events or purely decorative. And no matter how many photos I have taken of them, I can never resist lifting my camera to my eye again each time I spot one!

    The word azulejo comes from an Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning "polished stone", but the main influence on early Portuguese tile-work was in fact Spanish, when King Manuel I was inspired by the Alhambra to decorate his own palace in Sintra with them. As these first tiles were imported from Moorish Seville, they were purely geometric in design, obeying the Islamic law that prohibits the portrayal of living figures. But when the Portuguese started to produce their own tiles they soon moved away from this tradition, and animals and people became common, illustrating religious, mythological or historical themes. The most common colour scheme is a simple blue and white, influenced by a fashion for Ming Dynasty porcelain in the 17th century, and these are my personal favourites, but there are plenty of other colours for those who seek more variety. So grab your camera and start exploring!

    Azulejo panel, Bairro Alto Detail of azulejo panel Another azulejo panel in the Bairro Alto And another small one This one has been damaged & badly reassembled
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    Graffiti: culture or vandalism?

    by gordonilla Written Apr 19, 2009

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    I have noted on other travel pages some comments about graffiti as it appears in some of the European capital cities. As ever it covers politics, sport and what might be described as sub-culture from the locality!

    I would say that in Lisbon, I saw what could be best described as polite graffiti? There was quite a significant diversity of type and style, but the tags and images were written on what could be descrbed as unused or out of use walls. By this I mean that although there were plenty of prominent walls around, that were to the untrained eye good as prospective canvases for the graffiti artist, they did not get used.

    All in all - some of the graffiti I noted was impressive, clever and very well done.

    Graffiti (1) Graffiti (2)

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    Carnation revolution

    by J_Antunes Updated Jan 31, 2009

    Hello,

    April 25 is an important days in Portuguese history. The April Revolution or Carnations’ Revolution marks the military coup in 1974 that overthrew in just one day the political regime that had been in power in Portugal since 1926. The uprising was mainly led by the military who had fought in the colonial war. This war only ended with the change of political power caused by the April 25 coup. April 25 is considered a “day of freedom” and its symbol is the carnation. As the story goes, on the morning of the revolution, one of the locals joined in the streets supporting the soldiers and began offering carnations who placed them on the barrels of their rifles.

    The coup started with the airing of two musics in the radio: E Depois do Adeus (After the Goodbye) from Paulo de Carvalho it was the sign to begin. Some say the song was just about a love others that it was full of double senses (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89LBNSX_vig)

    Quis saber quem sou * Wanted to know who I am
    O que faço aqui * What I'm doing here
    Quem me abandonou * Who left me
    De quem me esqueci * Of whom have I forgotten
    Perguntei por mim * I asked for myself
    Quis saber de nós * Wanted to know about us
    Mas o mar* But the sea
    Não me traz * Doesn't bring
    Tua voz. * Your voice

    Em silêncio, amor * In silence, love
    Em tristeza e fim * In sadness and end
    Eu te sinto, em flor * I feel you, in flower
    Eu te sofro, em mim * I suffer you, in me
    Eu te lembro, assim * I remember you, like this
    Partir é morrer * To leave is dying
    Como amar * As Loving
    É ganhar * Is to win
    E perder * And lose

    Tu vieste em flor * You came in flower
    Eu te desfolhei * And I unflowerished you
    Tu te deste em amor * You gave yourself in love
    Eu nada te dei * And I gave nothing to you
    Em teu corpo, amor * In your body, love
    Eu adormeci * I have fell asleep
    Morri nele * I have died in it
    E ao morrer * And while dying
    Renasci * I reborn

    E depois do amor * And after the love
    E depois de nós * And after us
    O dizer adeus * The saying goodbye
    O ficarmos sós * The staying alone
    Teu lugar a mais * Your place is sparing
    Tua ausência em mim * Your absence in me
    Tua paz * Your peace
    Que perdi * That I lost
    Minha dor que aprendi * My pain I have learn
    De novo vieste em flor * And once again you became in flower
    Te desfolhei... * I have deflowered you

    E depois do amor * And after the love
    E depois de nós * And after us
    O adeus * The goodbye
    O ficarmos sós * And we will stay alone

    The next signal was to take control over significant control points in town and it was done using the song "Grândola, Vila Morena" forbidden by the censorship (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg0W_hOA66o)

    Grândola, vila morena * Grandola (town in Alentejo), tanned village
    Terra da fraternidade * Land of fraternity
    O povo é quem mais ordena * The people is who commands the most
    Dentro de ti, ó cidade * Inside of you, oh town

    Dentro de ti, ó cidade * inside of you, oh town
    O povo é quem mais ordena * People is who commands the most
    Terra da fraternidade * Land of fraternity
    Grândola, vila morena * Grandola, tanned village

    Em cada esquina um amigo * In each corner a friend
    Em cada rosto igualdade * In each face equality
    Grândola, vila morena * Grandola, tanned village
    Terra da fraternidade * Land of fraternity

    Terra da fraternidade * Land of fraternity
    Grândola, vila morena * Grandola, tanned village
    Em cada rosto igualdade * In each face equality
    O povo é quem mais ordena * People is who commands the most

    À sombra d’uma azinheira * To the shadow of a tree
    Que já não sabia a idade * That no longer knew the age
    Jurei ter por companheira * I have sworn as a companion
    Grândola a tua vontade * Grandola your will

    Grândola a tua vontade * Grandola your will
    Jurei ter por companheira * I have sworn as a companion
    À sombra duma azinheira * To the shadow of a tree
    Que já não sabia a idade * That no longer knew the age

    The Carmo Square was the centre of the events where Marcelo Caetano, the prime minister took refuge and left in a blinded car tand went to Brazil,

    Every year, in the 25th of April, the main celebrations are normally political. Maybe some movements will happen around the Carmo Square close to Chiado where all took place. Last year there was a fair there but don't know what they had.

    Main Monuments and museums such as Torre de Belém, Castelo, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos some smaller places might be closed. Many stores and some restaurants will be closed but malls will be open.

    25 of April Card
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