Lisbon, the city that enchants!

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Photo: nathsegato/Pixabay

Cosmopolitan city and capital of Portugal, the history of Lisbon has always been linked to its geographical position, which is strategic in the relationship between the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean.

The foundation of the village is lost in times and legends, there are several archaeological finds that prove the presence of the Phoenicians about 1200 years BC, and traces that date back to the Neolithic period.

We are, therefore, facing one of the oldest cities in the world, where Celts, Greeks, Romans and Moors also passed through.

After the Roman occupation, in which Lisbon was called 'Olissipo', the city was invaded by the Arabs, who called it 'Al-Ushbuna', remaining as an important point of trade, namely for the exchange of goods to countries like Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt.

In the 10th century, Lisbon was one of the largest cities in Europe, with about 100 thousand inhabitants, even bigger than London or Paris.

Little by little, the Moors were introducing their culture, and by this time Alfama was born, today the most typical district of the city, and the first fortresses of St. George's Castle, one of its main tourist points, were built.

In 1147, Lisbon was reconquered by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, and became capital of the kingdom in 1255.

The history of Lisbon is marked by its transformation into the departure point of the caravels and ships that discovered new worlds, and also into a commercial center where the spices of the Orient arrived and were traded.

This period is celebrated by the Tower of Belém and the Monastery of Jerónimos, two architectural jewels of the sixteenth century, which are today the delights of tourists who visit the city.

In 1755, Lisbon was devastated by an earthquake, followed by a tidal wave and a violent fire that destroyed much of the city. It was followed by reconstruction, which transformed it into today's modern metropolis.