The City of Lisbon (Portuguese) is built on seven hills like Rome, Istanbul, San Francisco, and Amman. The Port of Lisbon offers a wide range of accommodations and many more sights than can be listed here. The Rossio district and the airport have Ask Me Lisboa kiosks where visitors can find information, and the multi-lingual staff can provide maps and brochures. Tourist offices also offer the Lisboa Card for a reasonable free. With the Lisboa Card, visitors have access to free public transportation, free admission to many venues, and discounts at shops, restaurants, and some events. While in the Port of Lisbon, there are a few places visitors will not want to miss.
Belem is a neighborhood full of monuments and memories. It contains the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, Padrao dos Descobrimentos, and the Belem Cultural Center that offers art exhibits with works from some of the world’s most famous artists. With many charming gardens, visitors can stroll around the Royal Palace of Belem (now the President’s Palace) and see several wonderful monuments. Also in Belem is the Museu dos Coches (Coach Museum) in the palace’s former riding school with the world’s biggest collection of royal vehicles and coaches.
The early 16th Century Belem Tower was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s world-changing expedition to India. An elegantly-constructed fortification, it is a Port of Lisbon landmark and a symbol of the city – a memorial to Portugal’s Age of Discovery. The Tower is an outstanding example of the Portuguese late gothic Manueline architectural style. Since it lost its utility as a fortification, it has played many roles: telegraph station, customs control point, lighthouse, and political prison. Together with the nearby Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Belem Tower is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mostieros dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) is one of the Port of Lisbon’s most popular landmarks. Home for Hieronymite monks, it was built on the site of an earlier hermitage founded by Henry the Navigator in 1450. Before they left for India in 1497, Vasco da Gama and his men prayed there. Originally meant to be a church and burial place for the House of Aviz, it was used for many centuries as a place of prayer for seamen.
Alfama is the Port of Lisbon’s most characteristic quarter and a great place for people who love to walk or take photographs. This medieval maze is a village inside the Port of Lisbon and holds the history of the Port of Lisbon. Built on solid bedrock, the quarter survived the devastating 1755 earthquake. With narrow streets, small squares, whitewashed houses, and many churches, it is a photographer’s dream. Settled by the Romans and Visigoths, the Moors had the most influence on the area’s ambiance and its web of streets.
The oldest parts of the Castle of St. George date from the 6th Century BC. It was the royal residence of the Moors while they ruled the Port of Lisbon. When Afonso Henriques and his Crusaders captured it in 1147, it was dedicated to England’s patron saint. It served as a royal palace for a time. Today, a statue of King Afonso Henriques stands at the main gate with cannons that recall the castle’s reason for being. The remains of the Alcacovas Palace, home to medieval kings, is a stone building that now houses a restaurant and a wonderful multimedia exhibit on the history of the Port of Lisbon.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Lisbon by sea can find an exhaustive list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.
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