Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the second-oldest European capital city (after Athens), predating other modern European capitals by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been the political, economic and cultural center of Portugal.
The city of Lisbon is rich in architecture; Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern constructions can be found all over Lisbon. The city is also crossed by historical boulevards and monuments along the main thoroughfares, particularly in the upper districts; notable among these are the Avenida da Liberdade (Avenue of Liberty), Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, Avenida Almirante Reis and Avenida da República (Avenue of the Republic). Lisbon is home to numerous prominent museums and art collections, from all around the world.
Important Places to visit in Lisbon:
• São Jorge Castle: An Iconic Landmark
The hill on which São Jorge Castle stands has played an important part in the history of Lisbon, having served as the location of fortifications occupied successively by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Moors, before its conquest by the Portuguese in the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.
• Jerónimos Monastery: Built in Honor of Portugal's Age of Discovery
Jerónimos Monastery is an important example of Manueline, or Portuguese late Gothic, architecture. With vaulted ceilings and sophisticated decorative elements, the site reflects the ecclesiastical and royal commissions that characterized the era in which it was built.
• Belém Tower: A Historic Tower
The Belem Tower is Lisbon's most famous landmark, standing in the middle of the Tagus River. It was constructed between 1514 and 1520 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor and protect the city.
• Santa Justa Lift: An Antique Elevator With City Views
The Lift has a stunning observation deck at the top and offers magnificent views over Baixa. Since it was opened to the public, it has become one of the most popular viewpoints in Lisbon. Curiously, this lift can carry 20 people upwards, but can only take 15 people down.
• Padrão dos Descobrimentos: A Tribute to the Age of Discovery
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a bold and imposing monument situated on the banks Tejo Estuary. The monument celebrates the 15 and 16th-century Portuguese explorers and visionaries , who established Portugal as the most powerful seafaring nation of the era.
• Carmo Convent: One of the City's Oldest Churches
The purpose of this construction was to state two things: his intention to convert himself to the religious life and his competition with the King. The monumentality of the Carmo Convent is really impressive for the time of its construction. The earthquake of 1755 destroyed a great part of the convent.
Tasty indulgences of Portugal’s picturesque capital, Lisbon:
• Bacalhau à bras:
A popular Portuguese comfort food, bacalhau is dried and salted codfish traditionally pan-fried with finely sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs, garnished with black olives, and parsley.
The lesser-known relative of Spanish tapas, petiscos are small and tasty snacks served in Portuguese bars. In Lisbon, you can try such plates as salade de Polvo (octopus salad), pastéis de Bacalhau (cod fritters) and caracóis (snails).
• Fish and seafood:
Lisbon loves its fresh peixe e marisco (fish and seafood), and what better way to eat it then grilled over charcoal? Locals favour such fish as cherne (wreckfish), garoupa (grouper), and salmonetes (red mullet). But if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the percebes: gooseneck barnacles that look like dinosaur claws.
• Sagres Beer:
One of the oldest and most famous beer brands in Portugal, you’ll find Sagres beers sold in nearly every bar in Lisbon. Their most popular beer is a pale lager.