08 Aug 2016

What is the best way to know Alfama?

Vista de Alfama

By tuk tuk 100% electric! Do you have any doubts? Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, built in the slopes of São Jorge Castle’s hill. Its streets are narrow and sloping, making very difficult to see it all in a day. Of course, there are many belvederes where to rest, but it’s not the same thing…

The best way to know Alfama is starting at Praça do Comércio (best known as Terreiro do Paço), on the banks of Tagus river. And from there you can climb the street which takes you to the Sé de Lisboa (The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major), the oldest church in the city, built in the year 1147.

If you keep climbing, you will get to São Jorge Castle, a Moorish castle which occupies a hilltop, overlooking all the Lisbon centre as all the Tagus river estuary and its entrance, in the West. Full of shades you can rest and refresh yourself up there.

Now, it’s time to move on and come down to Teatro Romano. This Roman theatre was built in the 1st century in emperor Augusto’s period. In the emperor Nero’s period was reconstructed, partially dismantled in Constantino’s epoch, and abandoned in 4th century. It was discovered little after the tragic 1755 Lisbon’s earthquake.

After being amazed by this excerpt of Lisbon’s History, you can move up again and get to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. From this belvedere you can see all the winding roads of Alfama, and the Tagus river. You can sit there and relax a while too…

Continuing the belvedere routes, we will go next to the Miradouro da Graça, where you can see one of the most beautiful views in Lisbon and visit one of the most ancient churches in the Portuguese capital: Igreja da Graça. Founded in 1271 and rebuilt after the 1755’s quake, this church belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine’s monastery.

Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte

Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte

Next on the list, comes Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. This belvedere is considered by many of the locals, and tourists too, the one with the most stunning panoramic view of Lisbon. From there, you can see all Mouraria and a privileged view of São Jorge Castle. Next to the Miradouro, there is a little and ancient hermitage, built in 1147 dedicated to Saint Gens. It was also here that Dom Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, placed his camp before conquering Lisbon.

Leaving the belvederes behind, it’s time to go to the São Vicente de Fora Church. Dedicated to the patron saint of The City of Seven Hills (since 1173), these church and monastery were built in 1582 over an ancient temple ordered by Dom Afonso Henriques, where were the saint’s relic.

Nearby is Panteão Nacional, also known as Santa Engrácia Church, a 17th century monument, which was converted in the 20th century to a National Pantheon, where important Portuguese personalities, as Amália Rodrigues and Eusébio, are buried and where historical figures, as Luís de Camões, Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator, have their cenotaphs.

The end of our journey is about to come, and we couldn’t end it better: at Praça da Figueira. A large square in the Baixa Pombalina, the area of the city rebuilt after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Before this tragic event, was in this same square the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos (All-Saints Royal Hospital), which had suffered great damages.

Our hour has ended. We hope that you have enjoyed all the moments, and appreciated all the places we visited. For more information about our Alfama Tour you can visit our page here, or you can contact us.

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