Lisbon’s Old Quarter, Portugal
Day one in Lisbon we visited Alfama Lisbon’s old quarter. It was criss cross of lanes or a steep flight of lanes or winding alleyways and we clutched on to our guide books and maps from the hotel as we kept devouring the sights during our walking tour. Alfama is Lisbon’s ancient Arab part.
The tour of Lisbon’s Old Quarter
We followed the advice given by almost every site and every book we started the tour from topmost part of Lisbon’s Old quarter, from Sao Jorge Castle Gate. We walked downwards; the colorful sailors’ quarters didn’t look anywhere close to the streets of Elvas or Evora. Worn down wall facades, worn out tiled exteriors, narrow lanes with river at a distance; we were actually walking through one of the rare feature of Lisbon which survived the great earth quake of 1755. Home to the poet Luis de Camos, he wrote about the place, the narrow streets “Our lips meet easily, high across the narrow street”.
From the terrace by the church of Santa Luzia we got mesmerizing views of Alfama and River Tagus. The bougainvillea clad pergola is an ideal place to halt and rest our tired limbs. The south wall of Santa Luzia has a beautiful blue and white azulejo tiled panel depicting Praca do Comercio before it was flattened by earthquake. Watch for more pictures of Lisbon’s old quarters in future posts.
The place looked more like a village or small town with no modern structures around. The place is now full of migrants from other countries and probably less of locals left. Hard to believe that it belonged to Lisbon city! We missed visiting a couple of interesting places as it was well past 6 in the evening. One of them was the Fado museum which has information on the history of this musical genre, its evolution, its influences on other forms of art (cinema included), major fado singers and composers.
We intended to watch the sunset here that too didn’t happen. My husband got pick pocketed here in these streets of Alfama and after that we were in a spin. More details about it in another post.
Time taken for Alfama walking tour: 1 hour if you don’t halt for too long at places of interest. The Sao Jorge Castle tour can take additional half an hour.