lisboa

lisboa: igreja da memória

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Ayuda, Igreja da Memória, Baroque

No one expected second son José to inherit the throne of Portugal, but his older brother died the year of his birth & José moved to the top spot. He married Mariana Victoria of Spain at the age of 15 who shared his love for hunting & opera… but she never cared much for his affairs! Crowned king in 1750, José I continued to enjoy a carefree life; most administrative decisions fell to Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo. Later granted the title of Marquês de Pombal, Carvalho e Melo rebuilt the city of Lisbon after a devastating earthquake-fire-tsunami combo destroyed the capital in 1755.

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lisboa: as varinas

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, varinas, poster

As a tour guide, I’m interested in how the destinations I teach others about were marketed or imagined before I came around. What identifies these places to locals as well as to visitors? Travel posters from Argentina, Spain & Portugal during the mid-20th century revealed part of the story; however, one particular image stands out because of its absence today… the women who sold fish in Lisbon: as varinas.

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lisboa: cais das colunas

Casi das Colunas, 1950s

One of Lisbon’s most iconic viewpoints, not even the 1755 earthquake could destroy this majestic point of entry into the capital of Portugal. The royal palace disappeared forever, but the public square retained its shape during reconstruction… although sporting a new name. Recently the columns returned with “Salazar” cleaned up for all to see. That polemic decision allows visitors & residents alike to engage in a dialogue with Portugal’s recent history.

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lisboa: palácio fronteira

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Palácio Fronteira, Mascarenhas

Situated far from the Metro & far from tourist crowds, the Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira has to be one of the best-kept secrets of Lisbon. Heck, it’s taken me 20 years to get around to visit it! Built in the 1670s, this hunting estate survived the 1755 earthquake & then became the main residence of the Mascarenhas family.

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discovery: 1929 expo tiles

Spain, Portugal, Espanha espera a nossa visita

Many tourists are told an old, tired tale that Spain & Portugal merely tolerate each other… as if turning their backs to one another at the border. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since early medieval times, intermarriage between the Portuguese & Castilian courts formed the cornerstone of foreign policy for both kingdoms. The 1385 battle at Batalha established a fairly permanent border between them, but soon afterwards the Discoveries era brought them into frequent contact again. Portuguese captains worked for Spain with ship crews almost always a mix from both. To the chagrin of other European countries, Spain & Portugal divided the world. Even in the 20th century, both had decades-long dictatorships. Spain & Portugal have much more in common than most people realize.

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lisboa: expo ’98

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Expo '98

Twenty years ago today, Lisboa opened a specialized World’s Fair that completely altered the city’s landscape. Local government reclaimed an abandoned industrial zone to make way for pavilions, new housing, a new Metro line, a multi-modal train station & a second bridge across the Tejo River. Lisbon would never be the same.

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lisboa: palácio galveias

Portugal, Lisboa, Palácio Galveias, Arquivo O Século

I practically grew up in our local branch of the public library in Memphis. I think my mom figured out it doubled as free child care, & I could spend hours going through the stacks without ever noticing time pass. So when I heard the Lisbon city government spent 2.5 million € to fix up this public library, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

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