Bairro Alto, Lisbon
Bairro Alto ("high-lying quarter") is located above Baixa and developed in the 16th C. in the course of an extension of the city center towards the west and the northwest. The quarter only sufferred relatively little damage during the earthquake of 1755. The real Bairro Alto is considered to consist of the streets between Rua do Século, Rua de D. Pedro V, Rua de S. Pedro de Alcântara/Rua da Misericórdia and Rua do Loreto/Calçada do Combro.
Bairro Alto Map
Transit: Tram: 10, 20, 24, 28, 28B, 29, 30; Bus: 15.
The Carmo Lift provides unique transport between the lower town and Chiado in the upper town. Built in Neo Gothic style, the lift opened in 1901.
Igreja de Sao Roque is known for its interior which has remained relatively unchanged since it was built in the 16th C.
Museum of Sacred Art
Immediately next to the Igreja de Sao Roque, the Museu de Arte Sacra is housed in the former Misericórdia old people's home and orphanage. Included among the exhibits is wonderful Italian gold work, some 17th C. paintings as well as fine priests' vestments.
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Anniversity of the Revolution - Portugal (Apr 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), National Day - Portugal (Jun 10), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Republic Day - Portugal (Oct 5), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Independence Day - Portugal (Dec 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian, Corpus Christi - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Lisbon's botanical garden is considered to be one of Europe's finest. It covers an area of 34,000sq.m/365,976sq.ft extending uphill from the Rua da Escola Politécnica to the Avenida da Liberdade. Inspired by two professors from the adjoining Science Faculty (which had to be evacuated from the rooms of the Escola Politécnica in 1978 owing to a fire) it was set out here in 1873, thus before the construction of the Avenida de Liberdade.Pleasant walks can be enjoyed here among all manner of species of plants from all over the world, little streams and some modern statues.A meterological observatory, opened in 1863, and an astronomical institute and observatory have been built on a higher terrace. A department of the Science Museum located in this upper part of the garden can be visited by an appointment.
Address: Rua da Escola Politécnica 56, Portugal
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Sep 30: 9am-8pm; Sun: 10am-8pm; Sat: 10am-8pm
Oct 1 to Mar 31: 9am-6pm; Sun: 10am-6pm; Sat: 10am-6pm
Oct 1 to Mar 31: 9am-6pm; Sun: 10am-6pm; Sat: 10am-6pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €1.30
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Metro: Avenida; Bus: 15, 58, 100
National Museum of Natural History
Premises of the Science Museum are housed in the Escola Politécnica (founded in 1837) at the entrance to the Botanical Garden. The museum is composed of several smaller museums, some of which are in the process of being built. The Museu de Barbosa du Bocage and the Museu da Ciéncia only open for temporary exhibitions. A permanent exhibition of mineralogical finds can be seen in the Museu e Laboratório Mineralógico e Geológico.
Igreja dos Paulistas
On the southern edge of Bairro Alto, on the Calçada do Combro, stands the Baroque Igreja dos Paulistas (also known as the Igreja de Santa Caterina). The church was founded as the Igreja de S. Paulo da Serra de Ossa in 1647 and originally belong to a monastery of the same name. In the middle of the 19th C. and once again in the 1920s the church was renovated and reformed into its current style. The facade, which has since been somewhat destroyed, stands out because of its harmonious articulation.In contrast with other Portuguese churches the interior is unusually bright. The ceiling is richly decorated with stucco and structured through having been painted in different colors. The Baroque organ, with its gold painted wood carving and figures, and the carving on the main altar and in the eight side chapels give a somewhat over ornate impression.
Palácio de Sao Bento is a large white complex that houses the prime minister's official residence and the parliament buildings. The interior features marble floors and pillars, and wall paintings.
The shining white dome of the Star Basilica is a landmark, standing on one of the city's hills.
Certainly Lisbon's best loved garden is the Jardim da Estrela located opposite the Basilica da Estrela, which was laid out to a variety of designs between 1842 and 1852. Among old trees, lush bushes and herbaceous borders there are ponds with different varieties of water birds, little fountains and an artificial grotto. Especially lovely is a large music pavilion which was built in 1884. It first stood on the Passeio Público, the forerunner of the Avenida da Liberdade. When the Avenida da Liberdade was constructed it had to move and acquired an excellent site here.The Jardim da Estrela contains several ponds and a recreational area for children.
Transit: Tram: 25, 28; Bus: 9, 20, 22, 38
The entrance to the old English cemetery is situated opposite the north side of the Jardim da Estrela. The author Henry Fielding, whose novels are considered to be "master works of English humour", is buried here. He died on October eighth 1754 during holiday in Lisbon.
The little quarter of Lapa, which arose in the middle of the 18th C., is considered to be one of Lisbon's best residential areas. Large old villas and much greenery characterize this peaceful quarter where many embassies and consolates are situated. Among the small palaces some are striking on account of their unusual architecture, such as the Casa Visconde de Sacavérn in the Rua do Sacramento á Lapa (no. 24), which was built shortly before the turn of the century.
Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos
The Lisbon opera house is situated on the south side of the inconspicuous Largo de Sao Carlos in Chiado. It was built in 1792 to the plans of José da Costa e Silva to replace an earlier opera house which had been completely destroyed by the earthquake. In contrast to the first opera house the new one was not purely the domain of the royal family but became at that time increasingly more popular with the rising bourgeoisie. It was, in fact, some wealthy citizens who commissioned and paid for the new building. Performances of predominantly Italian operas - with mainly Italian casts - gave the Lisbon opera a good name for some time in the 19th century. Musical guests to the Lisbon opera included Toscanini, Saint-Saëns, Liszt, Richard Strauss, Paganini, Rubinstein and Padarewsky.The Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos is regarded as one of Portugal's earliest Classical buildings. The architect based his designs on the Milanese Scala and the Naples opera. The outer facade is simply and harmoniously proportioned. The entrance is covered by a three arched arcaded balcony surmounted by a veranda. The internal decoration is moderate and elegant. The ceiling painting in the entrance hall is the work of Volkmar Machado. The large concert hall has an elliptical ground plan, above which are five circles one above the other. Smaller scale chamber concerts take place in the Salao Nobre.
Address: Rua Serpa Pinto 9, Portugal
Useful tips: Open for performances only.
Transit: Tram: 28; Bus: 58; Metro: Chiado
Birthplace of Fernando Pessoa
Opposite the Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, also in the Largo de Sao Carlos, stands the house where the famous author Fernando Pessoa was born.
Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcântara
The Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcântara vantage point is a two tiered small park, of which only the upper level is open to the public today. From here a marvelous view of the northern part of the city can be enjoyed, as well as views to the east of the Graça hill, the Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora and the Castelo de Sao Jorge. A tile clarifies the places of interest and helps with orientation.A memorial was erected in the garden in 1904, dedicated to the first chief of the famous "Diário de Noticias", Eduardo Coelho. Eduardo Coelho (1835-89) founded the daily paper in 1863 and led it for its first 25 years. The small bronze in the foreground portrays an ardina, a newspaper boy who sold the daily paper in the streets. Joao Baptista Borges, depicted here, was the first to promote the "Diário de Noticias", at a time when its sales were poor.
Directly opposite the upper station of the Elevador da Glória stands the Palácio Ludovice. The building bears the name of its first owner and creator, the architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig (1673-1752). The German, who had been educated in Italy (hence the Italian name Ludovice), built the famous monumental monastery at Mafra. He constructed the city palace in 1747.
Convento da Conceiçao dos Cardais
The Rua do Século can be reached from the southeast corner of the Praça do Principe Real. The long building, which once housed the Carmelite monastery Convento da Conceiçao dos Cardais, makes a very spartan impression here. The two decorated entrance doors stand out strikingly from the plain facade. Constructed around 1700, the building survived the earthquake undamaged.The wall decoration in the interior (carving and blue and white tiling) is the work of the Dutchman Jan Van Dort. The whole complex was very run down and dilapidated; it is now being restored.
Praça do Principe Real
Follow the Rua D. Pedro V in a northerly direction from the Museu de Arte Sacra to reach the Praça do Principe Real. This square was laid out in 1860 as an extremely fine, small park (Jardim França Borges) with greenery from distant lands. An old cedar has grown above a supporting trellis to form an imposing "roof" offering shade and has become a favorite meeting place for card players. The houses on the square were built at the same time.
Palácio Ribeiro da Cunha
Some magnificent palaces were built on the Praça do Principe Real, including the Neo-Arabic-looking Palácio Ribeiro da Cunha, in which a department of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa is currently accommodated.
Located in the Rua do Século are the former editorial offices - built 1913 - of the "O Século" newspaper, after which this street, the former Rua Formosa, was renamed in the second decade of the 20th C.
Conservatório Nacional de Músicae Teatro
By following the Travessa dos Inglesinhos uphill to the left, we reach the former S. Caetano de Thiene monastery.Since 1837 the city conservatoire has been housed here. Initially only for drama, it was later combined with the music conservatoire, which was founded in 1833 and whose first head, Joao Domingos Bontempo, was one of the most famous Portuguese composers. The establishment of the conservatoire contributed substantially to an independent development of music in Portugal, where otherwise music had been adopted almost exclusively from Italy.
The Palácio Pombal, also called the Palácio dos Carvalhos, was for a long time the home of the Pombal family. Sebastiao José de Carvalho e Melo, later Minister Pombal, was born here in 1699. The building remained undamaged by the earthquake; however, after the disaster, Pombal had it altered by Carlos Mardel, who was one of the main architects to assist with the city's reconstruction. In accordance with the taste of the forerunner of rational enlightenment in Portugal, the long building is relatively plain and unadorned.The small bridge, which crosses the adjoining Rua da Academia das Ciências, used to link the palace with its garden. The fountain area opposite the palace, which is no longer in working order, is said to be the work of Carlos Mardel. The small square is lined by high, partly overgrown walls, which form the border to the higher plain of Bairro Alto.
Map of Lisbon Attractions