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Lisbon Travel Guide - Sights and Museums
The Alfama: The old Moorish quarter of the city... narrow, cobblestone streets stretch down to the Tagus river from St. George Castle which crowns the hill. Largo do Salvador, a 16th century mansion. Beco do Carneiro, so narrow that houses are only 4 feet apart. Patio das Flores, via a flight of steps, with some of the most delightful little houses fronted with tiles. Largo do Chafariz de Dentro for people watching around an old fountain. Largo de Sao Rafael will convince you the 11th century never ended. Largo de Sao Miguel with its church richly adorned with Baroque trappings. Largo das Portas do Sol with the handsome mansion that houses the Museum of Decorative Art... and on the same square, the Santa Luzia Belvedere, a balcony to view the sea. Very interesting and photogenic area.

Castle of St. George: Named after St. George in honor of the Portuguese and English alliance of 1386. Before entering the grounds, pause at Castle Belvedere and look at the city below. Inside, walk in the cool shade, watch swans gliding by in the moat, peacocks, olive and cork trees, pink flamingos. The only room left of the ancient Royal Palace is the Alcacova. Wander in and study the details of Roman and Islamic tombstones. (8-Sunset. Bus #37)

The Cathedral (Se): Not a wealthy church, but its twin towers give it a fortress-like look and the present structure is a mixture of styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic to Neoclassic. It is thought that the Cathedral was built on the foundation of a mosque. Inside, the most interesting feature is the rose window.(9-6 PM Tram 28)

Belem: The western part of Lisbon, at the mouth of the Tagus where Vasco de Gama and Magellan began their voyages.

The Tower of Belem: Built between 1515 and 1521, this quadrangular tower is the most distinctive landmark in Portugal, incorporating Gothic and Romanesque features. Climb the stairs for a panoramic view of the River. Tu-Su 10-6:30. Tram 15, 17.

Fonte Luminosa (Luminous Fountains): On the praca do Imperio... erected in 1940. See it at night... show takes about 1 hour.

Jeronimos Monastery: The extravagant, flamboyant architecture of Renaissance Portugal reached its heights in this monastery. Gothic elements romp with exotic Manueline motifs. Originally, a chapel stood on these grounds, the monastery being built in 1502. Enter through a beautifully sculptured doorway. To the right in the abbey are the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luis Vas de Camoes, Portugal's greatest poet. Some say the one of the tombs of Columbus is here also. The cloister is of exceptional style and beauty. Tu-Su 10-6:30. Tram 15,17.

Ethnological Museum: In a wing of the abbey of the Monastery. Here, the ages of Portugal are peeled away as you wander from room to room. Daily 10-12:30 and 2-5. Closed Monday.

Naval Museum and Planetarium: Next door to Jeronimos Monastery... recalls in artifacts ship models, and traditional Portuguese boats, Portugal's dependence on the sea. Daily except Monday 10-5.

Museum of Popular Art: On the Avenida Marginal... displays regional crafts grouped according to provinces. Daily, except Monday 10-5.

The Coach Museum: Lisbon's number one attraction. Gathered here are magnificent coaches ranging from the 17th to 19th centuries. Among the more intriguing coaches is a 17th century vehicle that Philip II rode to Lisbon in the era of Spain's domination. The most lavish trio... a collection of elegant gilded Baroque carriages, built in Rome for the Portuguese ambassador to the Vatican in 1716. The museum is located at Praca Afonso de Albuquerque. Hrs. 10-1, 2:30-6:30. Tram 15, 17.

National Museum of Ancient Art: This is Portugal's greatest museum. The most famous painting is "The Temptations of St. Anthony" by Bosch. Other notable works are by Cranach, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Velasquez, Raphael, Zurbaran, Ribera, Durer, Holbein, Memling and Brueghel. The jewelry collection is stunning. Located at 95 Rua das Janelas Verdes. Tu-Sa 10-1, 2-5. Tram: "Alcantara"

Calouste Gulbenkian Musuem: The collections cover Egyptian, Greek, Roman antiquities. Painters represented are excellent Rembrandts, Rubens, Renoir... considered one of world's finest private collections. Located in a beautiful villa at 45 Avenida de Berna. Tue/Thur/Fri/Sun 10-5... Wed/Sat 2-7:30. Metro: Palhava. A must see Museum!

Center for Modern Art: Near the Gulbenkian Museum, this is the major exhibition for modern Portuguese painters. On Rua Dr. Nicholau de Bettencourt. Sun/Tue/Thur/ Fri 10-5. Wed/Sat 2-7. Closed Monday.

Church of Madre de Deus: Queen Leonor founded this church in 1509. Today it contains some of the most precious glazed tiles of any church in Lisbon. The facade deceives the lush decorations inside. A guide will show you around... tip him. Located at 4 Rua Madre de Deus. Daily except Monday lO-1 and 2:30-5.

Pantheon Church of St. Engracia: Construction on this Baroque church was begun in the 17th century, but it wasn't completed until 1966. It is graced by a quartet of square towers, rather cold, and the state has turned it into a Pantheon with memorial tombs to Portuguese greats. Entombed here are also the Presidents of Portugal. Ask the guards to take you to the terrace for a beautiful view. Tip him. Daily except Mon 10-5.

St. Vincent Outside The Walls: An outstanding Renaissance church... housing the tombs of the House of Braganca, the dynasty that ruled Portugal from 1640 until 1910. Originally built from 1582 to 1627 and was located outside the city wall thus it's name. Daily except Monday 10-6.

St. Roque Church and Museum: Founded in the 16th century... visited chiefly for its collection of Baroque jewelry and marble mosaics. Located on Largo Trindade Coelho. Daily 10-5.

25 de Abril Bridge: with its 3,323 foot span is the longest suspension bridge in Europe... offers excellent views.

Padrao dos Descobrimentas (Monument of the Discoveries): Located several hundred yards from the Tower of Belem, this imposing monument was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, who founded Portugal's first observatory. It depicts the prince himself leading a throng of sailors, captains, priests, and poets into the jaws of hard-won imperial glory. In the pavement is a map chronicling Portuguese discoveries from 1427 to 1541. Tram 15, 17.

Santa Justa Elevator: Because Lisbon is hilly like San Francisco, short cuts are necessary to reach some high points. This strange looking landmark elevator takes one from the lower central part of Lisbon, to the upper portion of Lisbon. It's worth the trip up.

Carmo Convent Ruins: Located at the top of the Santa Justa Elevator. This is an impressive "monument" left in ruins after the great earthquake of 1755.

Museo National do Trajo (National Dress Museum): A collection of National costumes, accessories, materials and dolls. (Parque do Monteiro Mok)

Aguas Livres Aqueduct: An impressive 18th century stone aqueduct, 11 miles long, and still bringing fresh water to Lisbon. (Lisbon North).

Parque Edoardo VII: A classically landscaped park with spectacular views from the top.

The Fado: The "fado" is a form of song that represents urban folklore - the behavior and feelings of the people, their adventures, tragedies and loves. The "fado" to Portugal is what the Flamenco is to Spain.

Walking tour: This is an interesting tour. It's easier if you'll pick up a city map and draw this route on the map. Start at Rossio Square. Follow Rua do Ouro to Praca do Comercio with its statue of King Jose I. Follow Rua da Alfaridego de Santarem east out of Praca do Comercio and turn left along Rua da Madalena to the sign indicating that the Se Cathedral is up to your right. On your left you'll come to the Igreja Sao Antonio and, a little farther up to the Cathedral. Follow Rua Augusta Rosa, which becomes Sao Martino and then Rua Limoeiro to the belvedere of Santa Luzia with a wonderful view of Lisbon and the Tagus. A little farther up on your left, in Largo Portas do Sol, is the Museum of Decorative Arts. Returning to the Santa Luzia belvedere and turning right through Largo Contador Mor and then going up Rua do Fumil, you will come upon the Chao de Feira leading up to Castelo Sao Jorge. Go back along Chao de Feira and follow Rua de Sao Tome, which becomes Calcada da Graca, to the Igreja da Graca by Cracy Square. Upon leaving Graca Square, visit the Chapel of Ermida da Semhora do Monte. Turning back a little, go down Rua da Voz do Operario until you reach Sao Vicente Square with the church of the same name. Flanking the church is a wide-open space where the Feira da Ladra is held.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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