Not so visited as its neighbor Alfama, this quarter still has its attractive look, sharing most of the characteristics, and giving a perfect look of Lisbon.
A few interesting monuments enhance this quarter's interest.
Some cemeteries are famous, attracting visitors from all the world. Some other... don't.
Alto de S. João is the biggest cemetery in Lisbon, and though not being a local attraction, it always impresses me by its entrance - the mausoleums of the Viscount of Valmor, and "Misericórdia de Lisboa" are a great tribute to art.
One of the traditional liquors in Potugal, is Ginjinha, made from a sort of cherry. The most famous (and the best) is the one from Alcobaca, but tradition shows it being drunk in Obidos and in central Lisboa, specially in S. Domingos square, R. Portas de S. Antao or near the Parque Mayer.
But a secret known only by locals is a cheap long drink in a very small bar in Restauradores - O Pirata. It's a secret that seems to be made with Port wine, and has two varieties: Pirata and Perna de Pau, this one my favourite.
Look for the entrance at left of Eden building( Virgin).
Each town has its touristy places where visitors dispute each view and detail, and the inner places “reserved” for locals, where tourists only go when… lost.
This is one of those places, but a charming one: beautiful buildings surrounding the garden, calm, tranquillity, history, tradition, not far from the centre… It's not difficult to get lost that far...
Remains of the romantic days, a few band stands may still be seen in Lisbon.
Graffiti are a common menace, but people generally look at them with sympathy and some nostalgie.
Though turned useless, they keep being the key element in a few small gardens of Lisbon, like in Pr. José Fontana, facing Camões high school.
Luís de Camões is the main cultural reference to Portuguese readers.
All across Portugal and old colonies you can find monuments celebrating the writer of Lusíadas and more. A high school (where I studied 3 years) gets his name, and in the frontal garden a discreet monument is… just one more.
Well, not outstanding nor remarkable, but… just one more, evidencing that the school is the real celebration.
Lisbon's earthquake, in 1755 destroyed the original church, built in 1556. Ten years after the earthquake, Marquês de Pombal ordered the reconstruction, with a new architecture, according Pombal's patterns.
It's free to visit, in Victoria street, crossing the main avenues of central Lisbon.
In one of my prior tips I wrote about the second ugliest monument in Lisbon - it is in Arieiro, out of touristy main circuits, and only "attacking" locals.
But the UGLIEST one is in a very visited area, atop Eduardo VII park.
For hygienic reasons I refuse to describe it, and if you have the bad luck to see it, just look around - it's only an accidental pile of rocks waiting for the workers to build something. Yes, around it the views are great!
When I was born, Lisbon had a marvelous avenue, wit splendid buildings from the beginning of the century. The pressure to build in highness led to the infamous decision of... demolishing them, to replace by uncharacteristic concrete and glass blocks.
No one was arrested, nor even publicly condemned, but the result is there. Anyway, by miracle, a couple of buildings escaped, and are now protected. They may pass unnoticed, because they are small, but, if you cross this large avenue, pay attention: here and there something deserves your look and helps to imagine how it was!
London square at the southern end of Roma avenue, marks the limits of the so called "Avenidas Novas", the new quarters of Lisbon.
With the typical structure and look of the mid of last century, is a lively place, dominated by the modern and large church of S. João de Deus. In the small garden, a statue of Guerra Junqueiro, a famous writer.
Around central Lisbon, the old quarters developed themselves with precarious, narrow and windy streets, giving access to also precarious habitations.
With the development of town, the precarious habitations gave place to stable buildings, but most of the old streets were mostly kept, under the name of "azinhaga". They are disappearing, but, here and there they still may be seen, sometimes providing unusual views in a modern and quickly growing town.
Dominated by the beautiful palace of the Spanish Embassy, this square, abandoned for a long time, became an important centre to travelling in and around Lisbon. Most of the buses to cross the river and to the coast depart from there. Furthermore, it's at walking distance from Campo Pequeno and the top of Eduardo VII park, with Gulbenkian Museum and Lisbon's mosque in each way.
In the centre of the square, an arch belonging to the old aqueduct of "Águas Livres" and that has been dismantled to enlarge one street, is out of context but embellishing the square.
"Graça" is one of the Portuguese words for beauty but the quarter doesn't make justice to its name.
Impersonal, degraded, it has a few churches to visit, a couple of good sightseeing points, and several streets to get out of there. However it is not bad as a residential area.
As everywhere, there are lots of little things to see in Lisbon which are so easily missed. Make sure you look up.
You may find old carvings above doorways (from the time when people could not read....'the house with the cockerel' was a good way to find an address), balconies and flowers and washing, older buildings, smiling lions (or fierce ones), beautiful architecture and tiling.......
Here are a few 'looking-up' things I spotted.
In 2008 a memorial was created in Largo Sao Domingos, a small square off the Praca Dom Pedro lV (Rossio).
It commemorates the 1506 massacre of 3000 Jews, burned alive at two stakes in Rossio and Ribiera.
Those massacred were 'New Christians'.........those Jews who remained after their expulsion from Portugal in 1497. Some were full converts, some practised Christian religion publicly and maintained their Jewish religion in private.
There is a Star of David memorial, a wall panel and a pavement statement.