Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lisbon - charming neighbourhoods

When we visited Lisbon the first time, we spent a few days there and did the historical highlights.  This time around, since we only have one port day, we decided to focus on one area of the city that we haven't explored before - the Alto Bairo district, just a funicular ride up the hill.  It took us a little while to find the funicular as the directions at the tourist information booth were a little vague and there was no big sign indicating funicular ahead so we went by blind faith that we would find it somewhere ahead of us.  It turned out it was just a few blocks beyond the train station with its stunning twin horseshoe entrances and the funicular took us all the way up to the top.

The Alto Bairro, a working class neighbourhood established since the 16th century, together with neighbouring Chiado, were supposed to be very lively at night with lots of fado clubs, bars and restaurants.  It was very interesting during the day too with its cobbled streets and colourful facades.  At the top of the funicular (Elevator de Gloria) was a lookout terrace that offered a panoramic view of Lisbon.  A short walk from here took us to the Church of Sâo Roque, the earliest Jesuit church in Portugal from the 16th century.  It had a plain facade on the outside but the inside was very baroque.  

We wandered around the neighbourhood streets and then into Chiado.  The highlight for me was the Carmo Convent ruins from the 14th and 15th centuries.  The church was considered one of the most beautiful Gothic temples in Lisbon until the earthquake of 1755 and I could understand why.  Reconstruction started in 1756 but was abandoned in 1834 when the religious orders were abolished in Portugal, leaving large parts of the church uncovered and the chapels incomplete.  But I found the ruins spectacular and likely even more so because they were ruins - stripped of adornment, the pure beauty of the structure stood out in all its splendour.

Just next to the convent we discovered the elevator Santa Justa which offered a viewing platform and a direct descent into downtown Lisbon.  A short walk took us back to Rossio Square where we started off.  We enjoyed the walking tour very much.

Lisbon from the harbour

I could still recall these beautiful Lisboan pavements from the last trip

The 19th century Rossio train station with its twin horseshoe entrance (revival of the 16th century Manueline style)

Art deco apartment hotel on the way to the funicular

Toy car?

The Elevator de Gloria saved us a steep climb up to the Alto Bairo

Panoramic view from the terrace beside the funicular stop

The Church of Sâo Roque - 16th century Jesuit church

Beautiful tiled apartments on cobblestoned streets

The streets of Alto Bairro


Look at these colourful building facades!

Entrance of the Carmo Convent
Carmo Convent ruins

The chevet from the old church is now part of the Archaeological Museum
One of the apses in the old church
The view from the viewing platform of the elevator Santa Justa.  I am amazed at the size and height of the Carmo Convent.

View of Rossio Square

Looking towards the Castelo de o Jorge in the distance

The amazing elevator which took us down from the Chiado
Performing for the lunching tourists
Clown getting ready for performance in the square

Rossio Square with the Column of Pedro IV on one side and the fountain on the other with the wavy pavement in between

The impressive Terreiro do Paço
Next port:  Cadiz, Spain

No comments:

Post a Comment