Public Art

Monuments and azulejos by Lisbon Art Memories

A Group dedicated to Lisbon’s monuments and azulejosis run by Fernando Oliveira, a college professor of History and Portuguese. He runs it with the invaluable help of his wife, Maria de Jesus, an associate professor of Português. They met in Lisbon and share a love for this city.

Monuments

Felicitas Iulia Olisipotheatre– Rua de S. Mamede, 3

If you want to imagine, the ancient Roman Lisbon, just go up São Mamede ao Caldas street, where you’ll find the ruins of the Roman theatre. It dates back to the first century of our era, and it’s one of the last surviving examples of its kind in Europe. It was discovered when the city was being rebuilt, back in 1755, and it reveals the strong Roman influence in this key imperial city called Olisipo.

São Jorge Castle– Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo

It’s not really an ancient city if you don’t have a castle to explore. Climbing on foot through narrow alleys, cobblestone streets and up steps, fighting against the old hill’s steep slope, you’ll find the Castle of Saint George. This is the most visited monument in the country and it overlooks the whole city and its neighbouring lands. The castle was built by the maghrebi people known throughout the peninsula as the Moors, halfway through the 11th century. After Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, conquered the castle in 1147 with the help of crusaders on their way to the Holy Land, the construction was reformed into a more Medieval style.

Mosteiro dos JerónimosPraça do Império

This UNESCO World Heritage site is also known as the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém. Construction of the building was begun in the early 16th century, as a way to enhance the King, Manuel I, and to affirm Portugal as a naval power. Inside, you can visit the tombs of national heroes Camões, Vasco da Gama, and Fernando Pessoa.

Igreja de São Roque – Largo Trindade Coelho

Built in mid-16th century, this was one of the first Jesuit churches. It has richly decorated chapels, adorned with gold and ornamental stones, reflecting the baroque tastes of the age. It was built in the days of Counter-Reformation, and is considered an example of the Society of Jesus’ concern for preaching to the faithful.

Terreiro do Paço

This rectangular square, called praça do Comércio, but better known asTerreiro do Paço, was designed and built, ruler and compass in hand, by Eugénio dos Santos, Carlos Mardel e Manuel da Maia in the aftermath of the great earthquake of 1755. It is a prime example of the reconstruction of the city under the leadership of Marquês de Pombal. The equestrian statue at the centre of King Joseph I, ruler at the time, was a stamp of royal power.

Azulejos

Museu Nacional do Azulejo– Rua da Madre de Deus, 4

The name azulejo, comes from the arabic azzelijor al zuleycha. It means small polished stone, with one of the faces glazed. They began arriving in Portugal from the 15th century onwards, in the intricate fashion that most suited the Spanish-Moorish taste. You can follow the history of these tiles in the museum housed by the Madre de Deus convent.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia– Largo de Santa Luzia

In this miradouro, or viewpoint, you can appreciate a collection of azulejos from the 17th and 18th centuries that was recently restored. In the Largo de Santa Luzia you’ll even find a panel depicting Lisbon as seen from the Tagus in the 40s.

Hospital de São José– Rua José António Serrano

As azulejosstarted to be mass produced, they become more common all around the city, depicting scenes from the Bible, angels and saints. They became a new medium to communicate religion to a mostly illiterate population. One good example of this are the panels where the Aula da Esfera (the Class of the Globe, a mathematics class for sailors and seamen) used to take place. You’ll find it in the old Convent of Santo Antão-o-Novo, which is now the São José Hospital.

Rua dos Remédios, Alfama

As you explore the oldest neighbourhoods of Lisbon, if you look up under doorways and arches, you’ll find picturesque panels invoking saints. You’ll find one example of this in Rua dos Remédios, where a panel dedicated to Saint Martial, who was believed to protect against fires, is depicted alongside Anthony of Padua, Baby Jesus and the Dove of the Holy Spirit.

Lisbon’s trams by Pela reactivação do Eléctrico 24

The trams are a part of the cityscape of Lisbon. They feature many of the city’s portraits and are considered moving works of art. The need to connect Baixa, the bubbling city centre, where most trade and services were found, with the Campolide neighbourhood found along the 24E tramline. Here are some of the stops to watch out for when riding the 24E tram.

Rua Escola Politécnica – Praça do Príncipe Real

Art galleries, shops and museums, are all a part of Rua Escola Politécnica’s recent revitalisation. All of this and more has led Time Out to name Príncipe Real as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. You have plenty of places to explore, including the Galeria São Mamede, the National Museum of Natural History and Science. As well as the innovative shopping gallery called Embaixada, which you can find inside the Ribeiro da Cunha palace.

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

Of all the viewpoints of Lisbon, this might be the most popular. It is an extension of Bairro Alto, which is simultaneously one of the most traditional neighbourhoods in town, and the one where the nightlife is liveliest. You’ll often find friends gathering for a drink in front of the breathtaking views.

Teatro Nacional de São Luiz – Rua António Maria Cardoso, 38

This theatre mirrors the history of the arts in the city. It has seen famous actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse making their mark, Almada Negreiros’s famous Futurist Conference, the premier of Fritz Lang’s Metropolisand, in 1931, A Severa– the first Portuguese film with sound.

Ascensor da Glória – Calçada da Glória, 6

In a city with so many hills, an Elevator isn’t just a tourist attraction – it’s a basic need. In Calçada da Glória, the focus of the yearly Popular Marches, you’ll find the busiest funicular in town.