An ancient-City. A global city
The Alfama´s name comes from the arabic word “al-hamma” which refers to baths and fountains. During the Muslin period was the centre of power. The Alfama is the oldest dristrict of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge´s Castle and Tejo river. Its medieval alleys and outstanding views make it the ideal district to get lost in, as around every corner or steep climb is a delightful tiny plaza, unique chops, funky café or wonderful viewpoint. The Alfama district is the place where the traditional music genre called “fado” births. The Fado transmits feelings of destiny, nostalgia, melancholia, love, passion and “saudade” (According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is a “feeling of longing, melancholy or nostalgia”) and the Portuguese are the only ones who have such a word in their vocabular to express this kind of feeling.
Bairro Alto is a picturesque quarter dating from 1500s, is the only district in Lisbon that transforms drastically between day and night. It has been dubbed the bohemian district, full of luxury shops located on Rua do Norte, endless bars and restaurants. We suggest you actually get to Bairro Alto in a very traditional Lisboner way with “Elevador da Glória”, a tram-like lift that will carry you from the Restauradores square all the way up to São Pedro de Alcântara belvedere. From there, you can go into the quirkness of Bairro Alto to come night time the bars that line the cobblestone warren are characterised by electric night spots. Stop by local favourite Portas Largas for a cocktail, or go dance at chapel-turned-music venue “A Capela”.
Built on the northern bank of the Rio Tejo (Tagus River) as part of the estuary defence system, the Tower of Belém is one of the architectural jewels of the reign of Manuel I. This tower was used to defend the city and was transformed into a lighthouse and custos house. The 100-foot tall tower survived the disastrous earthquake of 1755, and has been restored many times. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is situated very close to the Jerónimos Monastery.
Carmo Convent Ruins
The ruins of this gothic church are evocative reminders of the devastation left by the 1755 earthquake. The city was all but destroyed and the ancient Carmo Convent and Church lay in ruins. Its library of 5000 books destroyed. Today the ruined arches stand in the middle of the rebuilt city as a reminder of the worst day in Lisbon´s history.
Chambers (including the one where Vasco da Gama was received by King Manuel in 1499, after his voyage to India).
It is not known for sure when the first stone of this masterpiece of Portuguese architecture was laid, but there is no doubt of its meaning and magnificence. Result of the ambition of King D. Manuel I, who founded Jerónimos Monastery in the 16th century, this monument has a facade of more than three hundred meters and it is located on the banks of Tagus River, in Belém, from where the ships and the caravels of Portuguese Discoveries used to leave.