Monuments and structures, Lisbon
This peaceful little church is set on the huge, mostly-modern Largo Martim Moniz on the edge of the vibrant, multi-cultural Mouraria district. It is amazing how the noise of the busy square falls away once one is inside the church.
It's one of the oldest churches in the city centre, first founded at the beginning of the 1500s and becoming the parish church of Mouraria in 1596 although that title was given to a larger church in the following century.
Originally the church was dedicated to St Sebastian but in 1662 the church was given an image of Nossa Senhora da Saude (Our Lady of good health) and took the name it still has today. I believe that there is an annual procession from the church which is one of the highlights of the Mouraria year.
In 1861 King Dom Pedro V declared the church a 'Chapel Royal'.
There were quite a few people worshipping when I visited...just sitting quietly...so I did not want to wander around. It's clear that the 1755 earthquake damaged the earlier church and what you see today was obviously rebuilt after the earthquake...the church is typically Baroque, with twiddles and frills and a beautiful painted ceiling.
There are also some beautiful blue-and-white azelujos panels around the walls, depicting various saints. I was only able to take one photo, but it gives you a taste of what is inside.
You'll find it on Rua Martim Moniz, a short distance from the terminus of tram 28.
Largo Martim Moniz is a huge, multi-cultural space in the heart of the city. It's the terminus of tram 28, so you're almost certain to wander around it at some point during your visit.
If you look across the square in the direction of Bairro Alto (though there's a hill in the way) you'll spot what looks to me like a chunk of the original city walls. It's surrounded by more recent buildings and pretty much inaccessible but the corrugated iton 'roof' on its top suggests to me that it's being preserved. That type of covering structure is common on archeological sites.
Another bit of evidence is the modern sculpture of a 'wall' in the square itself. It is set where the original city walls once stood and the existing lump of masonry lines up exactly with the modern sculpture.
I may be entirely wrong...and certainly if the chunk was originally part of the city wall then the visible bricks and plasterwork make it clear that it has subsequently had buildings attached to it.
It's worth having a look if you are in the area....see what you think.
Sao Cristovao (St Christopher's) church is another ancient church, beginning its life as the church of Santa Maria de Alcamim but renamed in the 12th century.
Again, what you see today is not that first building. Lisbon's two huge earthquakes have ensured that little remains of the earliest structure and this building largely dates from the second half of the 1700s, although some of the 15th-century building is still visible inside.
Unfortunately, the church was closed when I passed by. It's always difficult to visit smaller churches like this. If they are open at all it is usually for mass, and one does not wish to explore when a service is in progress. Mass is at 1815 on weekdays, 1130 and 1830 on Sundays, so you might be able to have a quick look if you get there 30 minutes or so before the service begins.
You'll find the church on Largo de São Cristóvão, on Rua Farinhas which winds around the slope beneath the castle on the Baixa side.
This is a very ancient church, dedicated to Santa Justa and Santa Rufina, martyred in Seville in the 3rd century, was originally built in 1241 and was attached to a convent. For a while it was largest in the city, used for royal weddings when Portugal had a monarchy.
It's not the 1241 building which stands today, of course. The earthquake in 1531 meant it had to be rebuilt and that second structure was so badly damaged in the 1755 earthquake that what is now visible largely dates from the late 1700s.
It's a remarkably atmospheric building, almost cave-like as you enter. That's partly because so much of the interior stonework still remains blackened from the devastating fire of 1959. It took until 1994 for the church to be repaired, restored and re-opened to worshippers.
When I visited there was a mass in progress, so I was not prepared to walk around taking a closer look at the sculptures, side chapels and main altar.
The church is open from 0730 until 1900, so you should be able to find chance to explore it when a mass is not in progress. It's set on Praça D. Pedro IV, easily accessible from either Rossio or Placa Figuiera.
A large building now used for military purposes, is something I can't qualify. It seems a fort, but it is only a palace with a style that... style?
Well, just have a look and make no questions, because I don't know the answers, unless that it belonged to a rich man named Vasco Eugenio de Almeida, also know as count Vill'alva, that lived using his fortune... and doing things while he could. He died in 1975, the palace was there... the army needed space... the walls were strong... you know!
It's not a highlight of Lisbon, but, in the way up to the cathedral you may visit this modest but nice church.
Built after the earthquake in the place where a former church from the 12th century was built upon a roman temple, this church used an old door brought from... well, another destroyed church.
Celebrating the memory of Sá-Carneiro, a prime minister killed in a plane crash a few years after the revolution of 74, the beautiful square of Areeiro was the place for an ugly monument. Most people criticize it, some considering it offensive to the memory of Sá-Carneiro.
A small face in the stone pedestal, and a mass of tin trash atop of it, challenge the champion of bad taste: Cutileiro's monument to the revolution in Parque Eduardo VII.
Everyone passes underneath it on the metro (it’s where two lines meet, one of them connecting the city center to the airport), but no one imagines what’s above ground. This is Alameda, one of the main open spaces of the Avenidas Novas district and its main attraction is this monumental fountain. Built in 1940 during WWII when Lisbon was a neutral safe heaven, it was named “fonte luminosa” (luminous fountain) because of its light displays at night. Recently the water disappeared for some time as the monument was cleaned up, but the beloved waterfall was back and running by late 2012. The water shows take place in early-afternoon at lunchtime and again after the sun goes down. In daylight or lit up in the darkness of the night, the effect is quite impressive.
At saturdays you can join a guided tour to see the inside of the fountain.
The Roman galleries found underneath Rua da Prata, downtown Lisbon were built during the 1st Century AC, but prior to the Romans. The galleries were built to stabilize the soil near the river mouth and were rediscovered after the 1755 earthquake during the reconstruction of downtown Lisbon. Today, the Cryptoporticus is almost submerged due to a long crack along the floor of the galleries designated by “Galeria das Nascentes”.
The place is open once per year and cues are giant and beyond your imagination. Expect 3 to 4 hours patiently near the small hole to grant entrance and be aware that entrance is permitted for 15m only!
Neverthless, those 15m are worth the wait, since you can see what holds the city os Lisbon!
The period they're open is only know near the date (1 or 2 months before), so before you come make some research on this!
Located in the eastern part of Lisbon, it stands a little bit isolated, turning it in a less visited monument.
It's a very interesting church from the 16th century, now making part of the Tile Museum, though allowing an independent visit.
To go there, you must search for Xabregas, served by bus.
Built after the 1755 earthquake, this palace was unfinished due to french invasions. Used by the government for some feasts, is has been restored and enriched with art collections.
Its location, in somewhat despised area, means few visitors, but if you don't mind crossing some degraded areas (under recuperation), you may be surprised by large views, and the splendorous colours of Lisbon.
I heard that it is going to be open to public visits, and that... it is very interesting. I will check it out.
This reservatory was built in the 17th century as a part of Águas Livres’ Aqueduct, one of the most impressive constructions in Lisbon. It was built to receive and distribute the water that came from the aqueduct, and it was finished in 1834.
Inside you can see an ark water with the capacity for 5500 m3 and a cascade made of stone. Above the monument you’ll find a panoramic view over the city and the ending arcs of the acqueduct.
The museum is open every day except Sunday and Holidays. The entrance fee is 2€
Adress: Praça das Amoreiras, nº 10
Subway: Yellow Line - Rato
One of the most typical works during the dictatorship of "Estado Novo" was a large alley, with the interesting building of the IST in one top, and a large fountain sustaining a garden in the other.
The harmony of the ensemble is regularly being broken with massive works, that last for... an eternity.
A little far from the touristy area, in modern Lisboa, stands my favorite monument:
The "Monumento aos Mortos da Guerra Peninsular", which means the dead fighting the French invasions of Napoleon's soldiers.
It's a medium size monument, but so harmonious, so expressive, so perfect, that each time I see it I find it even better then before.
It is in the square of Entrecampos, the meeting point of Av. da Republica, Campo Grande, Av. Estados Unidos and 1st May Av.
One of the hidden splendors of the city is the almost destroyed “Church of Our Lady of the Carmo Hill”- Carmo Convent.
Most of the tourists are not stopping there as they consider it simply a “ruin”
Even if the church’s nave and transept is almost completely destroyed, I found it as the most beautiful building in Lisbon.
First of all because it is one of the oldest ones and the only gothic building I have found here.
The most important quality of it being the fact that it is telling you “stories” about the way it was built in the 14-15th centuries.
You must only look at the sky through its broken arches and you might understand how this beauty was built and how strong is it, despite of the missing vaults and roof….
Looking carefully and with piety at the remaining stones, you may possibly see with your mind’s eyes, the loads transferring to the arches and then to the columns (still up-standing after the big earthquake in 1755) and down to the bare ground.
I have always wondered how the simple stonemasons were able, almost thousand years ago, to erect such impressive buildings.
They were so close to our style as they have probably built first the strength structure
and after that they have had only to fill the walls between the stone ribs.
I have “lost” my steps on the huge nave, between old classic capitals and Manueline architecture elements and I’ve found, together with my son, the way down to the museum in the old apse of the church.
Unexpected exposition of old artifacts, some of them really old (Egyptian sarcophagus form 2-400 yrs. BC) and some of them really well preserved.
My son was a bit scared by the two mummies from South America, tight and buried in the fetal position.
If you’ll go there with kids, be ready to “provide” them a nice story about the “fake mummy”… It was scary even for me.
As a conclusion, if you’re in Lisbon, keep 30 minutes to visit this unique church and you’ll not regret the 3,5 euro you’d pay at the entrance.