We spent the first few days of our trip exploring the neighbourhoods (barros) of Lisbon. These communities have no clearly defined boundaries but they do represent distinctive quarters of the city that have similar cultures, living standards and identifiable architectural landmarks.
Commerce Square is situated next to the Tagus river and is still commonly known as Terrier do Paco (Palace Square) because it was the location of the Pacos da Ribeira (Royal Ribeira Palace) until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. After the earthquake, the square was completely remodelled as part of the rebuilding of the downtown area. In combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, the earthquake almost destroyed Lisbon. It is estimated that the earthquake had a magnitude in the range of 8.5 to 9.0 and the death toll was somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 people.
Expecting rain? A young man sitting in Commerce Square. The square got its name to indicate its new function in the economy of Lisbon. The buildings of the square were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities. On February 1, 1908 the square was the scene of the assassination of Carlos I, the penultimate King of Portugal.
After leaving Commerce Square we ended up back at Rossio Square with the interesting pavement.
Starbucks is everywhere.
Our group went to the restaurant "Casa do Alentejo" , a former Moorish palace. The palace was built in the last quarter of the 17th century but had gone through considerable changes over the years, mostly in 1918. Currently many activities such as dances , singing and socializing take place here. There were different dining rooms- I particularly found this one to be very picturesque, beautifully decorated with the azulejos tiles. The azulejo is a form of Portuguese painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tile work. The food in Portugal was excellent.
|Gretchen and Arthur photographing at Casa do Alentego. There were lots of interesting places to photograph.|
A view of the neighbouring buildings taken from a balcony.
Another view of the neighbourhood.
The following morning the group went to the Belem neighbourhood in Lisbon. Belem Tower, pictured above is a fortified tower. It is a UNESCO World heritage site because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries.
The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.
Leaving the tower we walked the short distance towards the Jeronimos Monastery. I saw this little boy concentrating on his next move.
Reflections through a window.
There were quite a few fisherman out as we made out way over to the monastery. The sky was very interesting.
The Age of Discoveries started in 1415 with the capture of the North African city of Ceuta by the Portuguese and reached a peak at the turn of the sixteenth century when Vasco da Gama discovered a shorter route to India and Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil. The Monument to the Discoveries was originally built for the 1940 World Exhibition to celebrate the achievements of explorers during the Age of Discoveries and the creation of the Portugal empire. The monument above was built in 1960 and is an exact replica of the original one. This fifty meter (171 feet) is shaped like a ship's prow is now located at the marina in Belem since this was the starting point for many of Portugals' explorers. The monument shows more than thirty statues of people who played an important role in the discoveries. Henry the Navigator is out front.
Just before we arrived at the Monastery, Arthur is stopped by a monk.
The Jeronimos monastery is of the Order of Saint Jerome and is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of Architecture. This building was also classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Even though it was early in the morning, the crowds were already gathering.
Inside the church.
Next, more of the Belem Neighbourhood.