Lisbon - city of seven hills

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Lisbon, in Portuguese Lisboa, is a city, a port and the capital of Portugal. Located on the Tejo River, it is the westernmost capital city in continental Europe and serves as the country’s chief port, largest city and commercial, political and tourist centre.

Lisbon owes its historical prominence to its natural harbour, one of the most beautiful in the world, from where the vessels from the Portuguese discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries would sail to define new maritime routes for commerce and new territories to conquer.

The city centre was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 but was rebuilt by the Marquês de Pombal and has been reconstructed as a bustling modern metropolis. Lisbon was designated a European City of Culture in 1994 and in 1998 it hosted the World’s Fair - Expo ’98. That event sparked the city’s biggest renewal project since the rebuilding that followed the 1755 earthquake, including the construction of the combined road-rail Vasco da Gama Bridge and other extensive upgrades of the city’s transportation infrastructure.

Despite modernisation, Lisbon in many ways retains the air of a 19th-century city with the general outlines remaining as they have for hundreds of years. Lisbon is still a city of balconies and vistas. Some of the most striking of the latter can be seen from the ‘miradouros’, the terraces maintained by the municipality on seven of its hillsides. Many Lisboetas, as the people of Lisbon are known, profess their city to have seven traditional hills, like Rome.

Many of the housing developments are planted with trees and grass, their small parks adding to Lisbon’s collection of dozens of public gardens. The largest public park, Monsanto, covers about 3.5 square miles and has numerous recreational facilities. Rolling hills planted in the 1930s provide a windbreak for the city and are now thickly forested. There are also botanical gardens and a zoo within the city.

Lisbon is a city full of character with its traditional buildings, well-kept and loved, where not just the walls, but also ceilings are adorned with patterns of beautifully painted ceramic tiles called ‘azulejos’. Discover why this whole city is one big museum.

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Published in: Guide to Portugal / Miscellaneous / Portugal Property / Portuguese Life