The beginning of the 19th century finds Lisbon occupied by Napoleon’s troops that sack the city & destroy many properties. The ominous inauguration did not seem to have an effect in the grandiose architectural style that became the norm after the end of the Pombaline administration, evident in buildings such as the Basílica da Estrela, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos,the Palace of Ajuda & the National Theatre of Maria II in the heart of Rossio Pombalino.

The limits of the city become successively extended in homocentric circles, the center being Baixa (Pombalina). New charming gardens like the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara, the Estrela Gardens and the Principe Real Gardens sprout in different areas of the capital, giving it a much needed naturalistic breath while Avenida da Liberdade is built in 1879 developing a new district that distances itself from the river.

The most important events that shaped the city’s life in the 20th century were also the ones that shaped the country’s modern history. First & foremost the Revolution in 1910 which deposed the constitutional monarchy, that had already suffered a mortal blow 2 years earlier with the Lisbon Regicide and the assassinations of King Carlos I of Portugal and his heir-apparent, Prince Royal Luís Filipe by two republican activists on February of 1908 in Praça do Comércio.,_Prince_Royal_of_Portugal

The first Portuguese republic was proclaimed by the members of the republican party, from the balcony of the Paços do Concelho (Lisbon City Hall) in Praça do Município  on October 5th, 1910, after two days of military skirmishes between rebelled soldiers and armed republicans on the one side & government forces on the other.

A second revolution, this time anti-republic would put an end to a period that had proved to be an overall unfortunate attempt to solidify a democracy in the country, sullied by corruption, judicial usurpation & civil disorder. The military coup d’état of May 28th 1926 would impose the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship) that would last until 1974.

After half a century of a conservative & authoritarian regime that would be mostly affected by the decisions of one man, António de Oliveira Salazar who served as Prime Minister for 36 years, from 1932 to 1968, the so-called Estado Novo (New State) collapsed on April of 1974, when a group of low-ranking, left-wing Portuguese military officers who opposed the regime’s colonial war raging in Africa for more than 10 years, decided to carry out a coup in order to overthrow the government. &

Public discontent over the regime’s policies had surged to be a common denominator in every layer of the Portuguese society over the years, although it was not publicly or massively expressed until the day the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA, “Armed Forces Movement”) decided to make a move in Lisbon. The movement was  spontaneously embraced by the people of the capital who flooded the central streets & squares on April 25th 1974, despite radio warnings to stay in the safety of their home.

Lisbon flower market abundant in spring carnations would provide the soldiers participating in the insurgence, with the symbol that was meant to mark the day that would usher the country in the third (current) republic. The Carnation Revolution is celebrated every year as a national holiday, while the Salazar Bridge inaugurated on 6 August 1966, would be renamed as the 25 de Abril Bridge.

In the beginning of the 1980’s the Portuguese capital had reached a population of more than 800,000.  In 1986, Portugal entered the European Union and, twelve years later, in 1998, the city hosted the Universal Exhibition, Expo 98, which transformed the face of the eastern part of the city. The Vasco da Gama bridge inaugurated on April 4, 1998 is the longest bridge in Europe, measuring 17.2 kilometers, of which 10 are over the waters of the Tagus estuary. By the end of the 90’s the metro had branched out to four different lines that connected the edges of the city with its historic center, while in the first years of the 2000’s the city’s two most famous stadiums, the Estadio da Luz and Estadio José Alvalade were inaugurated in order to host some of the games of UEFA Euro 2004 that took place in Portugal.

Today the Portuguese capital has a core population of half a million people and about 3 million in its wider metropolitan areas, a growing  economy that represents about half of the country’s total GDP and a tourism industry that attracts about 5 million tourists every year. The largest ethnic groups of foreign permanent residents are Brazilians and Chinese but there is a multitude of international schools in the Greater Lisbon area (American, British, French and German) serving the growing number of foreign expats.

According to a recent study by the American company Cognizant based on data from the World Economic Forum, ESI ThoughtLab and the Global Justice. : “Lisbon was chosen from more than 150 cities around the world, as one of the 21 places of the future”, positioning itself as one of the three European cities that make up the final list. The evaluation concluded that Lisbon is a “sophisticated city”, which stands out for the quality of its universities, infrastructure and security, for its access to private capital, for having a stable local government / administration and for being a sustainable city. Overall Lisbon is a city with a unique footprint where old tradition and ancient history blend together with cosmopolitan culture and economic progress. As is very rightly stated on the city’s official tourist portal, Lisbon is ageless.


16th century was Portugal’s golden age and Lisbon was right in the center of it, a crossroad between the New & the Old World, between Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and the Far East. Arts, architecture, science and literature all thrived. Prosperity had given birth to a virtuous cycle of progress that reflected the abundant new resources that had been revealed with the discovery of the new world.


A vast new empire that spanned from the Americas, to Africa, India and the Far East made Lisbon a control center of lands more than ten times the size of the original kingdom, one that could only be compared with the enormity of the expanding Spanish Empire. The Portuguese become the first to round the Cape of Good Hope, the first to bypass the obstacle of the Ottomans on the way to India, the first to establish trade routes with Japan and China, the new kings of the spice trade. His great achievements as a King and all the progress his decisions had generated for his realm would not be enough to make Manuel I immune from the calamities of his era. In 1521 the Portuguese King would fall along with many others to an outbreak of the bubonic plague. & Up

The next king John III of Portugal was born in Lisbon in 1502. He was crowned king in the Church of São Domingos in Lisbon a few days after the death of his father. His reign would follow the track of a stronger alliance with Spain and the Papal States. This alliance extended to the realm of religion with an active support of the Catholic dogma against the movement of the Reformation, the introduction of the Inquisition that was placed under the authority of the king and the royal support to missionaries in the New World. The king’s nickname “o Piedoso” (the Pious) would forever remind humanity the moral standards of his time.

Maritime elements, representations of the discoveries & late Gothic architecture influenced by the Spanish Plateresque & Flemish styles were all infused in the Manueline style of architecture of the 16th century that characterizes several landmark monuments of the period like Belém Tower & Jerónimos Monastery (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites today). Bairro Alto (Upper neighborhood), a once open space of trees & greenery outside  the western limits of the walled city, is transformed into a Renaissance urbanized area that would become its most popular aristocratic district. Tower of Belém, one of the most representative examples of Manueline style in Lisbon, Portugal. View from Northeast. &

The death of young King Sebastian I of Portugal, the last of the House of Aviz, in a battle with the Sultan of Morocco in 1578 & the dynastic crisis created by the absence of an heir, would lead to the ascension of Philip II of Spain to the Portuguese throne, after the subjugation of the capital & the sacking of the surrounding region by the Spanish army in 1580.,_de_Crist%C3%B3bal_de_Morales_(Museo_del_Prado)_(cropped).jpgThe Battle of Ksar El Kebir, also known as Battle of Three Kings, or "Battle of Oued El Makhazeen" in Morocco, and Battle of Alcácer Quibir in Portugal (variant spellings are legion: Alcácer-Quivir, Alcazarquivir, Alcassar, meaning grand castle in Arabic), (Battle of Alcazar in English) was fought in northern Morocco, near the town of Ksar-el-Kebir and Larache, on 4 August 1578. At the picture Battle at Ksar el Kebir, depicting the encirclement of the Portuguese army on the left

King Philip II who also ruled as King of Castile, Aragon, the Netherlands, Naples and Sicily, stayed in Lisbon from 1580 to 1583 and even considered turning Lisbon into the imperial capital of humongous empire. Ribeira Palace was modernized, expanded & remodeled in Mannerist style, with the highlight of his renovations being the transformation of a three-story Manueline tower, into a five-story Mannerist tower that would house the Casa da Índia and one of the largest royal libraries in all of Europe. & &

Despite the initial zest for Portugal’s affairs and the appointment of Portuguese nobles in the Spanish court, the Iberian Union became very quickly a Spanish over-lordship that would last until in 1640 the Portuguese nobility & bourgeoisie in Lisbon restored the country’s independence after a coup that proclaimed  John, 8th Duke of Braganza, as King John IV of Portugal.,_s%C3%A9c_XVII)_-_Pa%C3%A7o_Ducal_de_Vila_Vi%C3%A7osa,_Funda%C3%A7%C3%A3o_Casa_de_Bragan%C3%A7a.png

The constant warfare with the Dutch & the Spanish in the first half of the 17th century for the control of overseas trade, took its toll in the Empire’s interests in both the Atlantic & the Indian Ocean without however affecting Brazil’s lucrative sugar trade and the ever-growing business of African slaves that were shipped to work or be sold in the colonial plantations of the Americas. The state revenues enabled the construction of several Baroque Churches & theaters that would adorn Lisbon’s cityscape by the end of the 17th century. Up

Gold from Brazil started arriving in Lisbon in 1699, creating a surge of construction works for expensive new houses, built mostly by the city’s aristocracy & the state officials while the new king, John V of Portugal, also known as the Magnificent or the Portuguese Sun King would nearly deplete the royal treasury on ambitious architectural works, most notably the  monumental Baroque Mafra Palace and on commissions and additions for his sizable art and literary collections. His fairy tale wedding with Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria sealed with a mythic dowry of 100,000 crowns, a vast sum for that day. The marriage celebrations that lasted nearly two months, would be literally written in golden letters in Lisbon’s history books as one of the most spectacular things the city had ever witnessed. &,_gravura_alem%C3%A3,_s%C3%A9c._XVIII.png

In 1742 the King suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to fulfil his duties. Queen Maria Anna would serve as regent and take over the royal projects like the construction of the Belém Palace, the summer home envisioned by her husband in 1726. She would die in the new palace in 1754, leaving all the royal power to her son Joseph I of Portugal. A year later the new king would have to face an earthquake of a magnitude at least 8.4 on the Richter scale, that would wreak havoc in the Portuguese capital. The Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was followed by a tsunami that hit the harbor and downtown area about half an hour later. The two phenomena resulted in the loss of an astounding number of people (in a population of about 200,000 people the lives lost are estimated to have been between 30,000 and 50,000 in total).

The most urbanized districts of Baixa & the Castle were the ones that were mostly affected by the earthquake. Lisboa Pombalina was to take their place. The 1st Marquis of Pombal, King Joseph I’s enlightened Prime Minister was the head of the arduous task of putting the wounded city back on its feet. Based on the boldest of all the propositions laid out by Manuel da Maia, chief engineer to the realm who envisaged a completely new quarter with big squares, widened streets and rectilinear grid pattern, the ambitious plan & its implementation quickly became the cause of admiration throughout the world.,_1st_Marquis_of_Pombal

The two great squares, Praça de D. Pedro IV or Rossio Square the typical meeting place for the people of Lisbon for centuries and Praça do Comércio, the commercial heart of the city since the 16th century, would be rebuilt and remodeled in a way that better suited the new homogenous profile of the district.

the "Rossio" with bronze fountain and statue of Dom Pedro IV., in the background Teatro Nacional D. Maria II.

Although the peace with Castile would not last for long, the policy of good relations with the English crown favored Portuguese traders & seamen who started looking for ways to overcome the expensive eastern trade routs controlled by Venice & the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The rise of the favored by Lisbon’s increasingly influential bourgeoisie, House of Aviz in the Portuguese throne & the demise of the land orientated aristocracy in comparison to that of the wealthy traders would pave the way for bolder naval ventures by the Portuguese. The 15th century was the age of exploration for Portugal with most of the exploratory expeditions leaving from the port of Lisbon.

Caravel Boa Esperança of Portugal. Until the 15th century, Europeans were limited to coastal cabotage navigation using the barge (barca) or the balinger (barinel), ancient cargo vessels of the Mediterranean Sea of around 50 to 200 tons.The caravel was developed in about 1451, based on existing fishing boats under the sponsorship of Henry the Navigator of Portugal, and soon became the preferred vessel for Portuguese explorers like Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama or Ferdinand Magellan. to the Discoveries is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary in Lisbon, consisting of a 52-meter-high slab of concrete carved into the shape of the bow of a ship. The monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or Age of Exploration) during the 15th and 16th centuries. Conceived in 1939 by Portuguese architect Jose Angelo Cottinelli Telmo, and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida for the Portuguese World Fair in June 1940. The figure of Henry the Navigator is upper right. He was an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and responsible for the early development of European exploration and maritime trade with other continents ,

A constant exchange of cultural ideals with both Christian & Muslim states through commerce, the need for improved technology in the long naval journeys and the establishment of a money economy, made Lisbon a center of scientific & economic progress that would usher Portugal into its Golden Age & serve as an example for cities like London & Amsterdam. AdulthoodPortuguese explorers moved gradually down the coast of Africa and ultimately reached Western India in their search for gold, spices & slaves

By 1450 the naval routes of Africa had already been sailed all the way to Sierra Leone & the first African slaves were brought to Portugal. The slave trade would prove to be the most profitable branch of Portuguese commerce. In the same time the Atlantic Ocean was explored almost up to Nova Scotia. After 1450, the Portuguese colonization of Azores, Madeira & selected areas of Africa starts producing the first substantial  gains while further exploration leads to the discovery of the naval route to India & then to the Americas. A treaty between Spain & Portugal defines the spheres of exploration in 1494 & in 1497 Vasco de Gama completes his voyage to India after departing from Lisbon.

Outward and return voyages of the Portuguese India Run (Carreira da Índia). The outward route of the South Atlantic westerlies that Bartolomeu Dias discovered in 1487, followed and explored by da Gama in the open ocean, would be developed in subsequent years.

In the year 1500, Brazil is claimed for Portugal by the Portuguese fleet commander Pedro Álvares Cabral one month & twenty one days after his departure from the port of Lisbon in a voyage that had as its final destination the shores of India.

Early Adulthood nau (carrack), the vessel used by Pedro Álvares Cabral, in his voyage in 1500

A few months later, the construction of the Monastery of the Jerónimos, one of the finest examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style is inaugurated on the orders of Manuel I (1469–1521) who would fund the ambitious project with a 5 % tax on commerce from Africa and the Orient. In the same time the King would move his Royal Court & Residence from São Jorge Castle (the hilltop castle built by the Muslims on the site of older fortifications that went back to the Celtic tribes & the Romans) to Terreiro do Paço,( Ribeira Palace) at the site where the square  Praça do Comércio stands today. Palace after the King John III's renovations. Alterations can be seen in the King's Tower.Cropped from Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Created: 1 January 1572

In 1290 the first Portuguese University is founded in Lisbon by King Denis I while the city starts expanding outside its defensive walls due to the rising population, an outcome to a great extent of the expansion of commerce, this time to the Christian areas of Northern Europe that was a sorts of terra incognita a few years earlier due to the religious enmity between Christians and Muslims.

The progress in navigation & ship building, the growing populations of Europe in the 12th and 13th century, the increasing demand for goods introduced in the European continent by the Arabs & vice versa, would benefit the maritime trade of long distances between the Mediterranean & the North Sea that was bound to have the safe port of Lisbon as one of its main stations.

Map showing the main trade routes of late medieval Europe. The black lines show the routes of the Hanseatic League, the blue Venetian and the red Genoese routes. Purple lines are routes used by both the Venetians and the Genoese. Overland and river routes are stippled.

The hostilities of the Kingdom of Portugal with its neighboring unified Kingdom of Leon & Castile were terminated in 1297 by a treaty of alliance which brought about a period of stability, of social reconstruction & homogenization that started right at the beginning of the 14th century for both Lisbon & Portugal. New laws introduced by King Denis I formed the basis of the Portuguese civil and criminal code, creating a safety net for the lower classes of the kingdom and several new castles are built to keep order. São Jorge Castle is reconstructed to serve as the royal palace. The language of Portuguese become the official language of the state, replacing Latin that were widely used in official documents until the end of the 13th century.,_Lisbon_(49933773086).jpg

In October of 1147, 10 years after the first attempt to breach the city walls of Al-Ushbuna, the Christian army of King Alfonso I reinforced by the army of the crusaders of the Second Crusade manages to take the city after four months of siege. Although the terms of surrender agreed by the two parts left a window for the Muslims to keep their lives & possessions, the terms were broken as soon as the Christians entered the city. &, &

The Muslim population was converted to Roman Catholicism by force or expelled by the city while the Great Mosque, now the Sé Cathedral, was transformed in the Catholic Cathedral of the city with the English crusader Gilberto of Hastings appointed by King Alfonso I as the first Catholic Bishop of the Christian city of Lisbona. All the mosques are either destroyed or turned into Christian churches like the Great Mosque that by 1150 was already consecrated as the Cathedral of Santa María (Sé de Lisboa). Arabic lose their place as the official language & gradually their use in every life.


In 1179 the city receives its first Carta de Foral, making its city council free from feudal control & the Kingdom of Portugal its first Papal bull, a Manifestis Probatum that recognised Afonso Henriques or Alfonso I of Portugal as the first sovereign King of Portugal, now an independent crown. One year before the end of his long reign (1184) he would successfully defend Lisbon against the army of  Abu Yaqub Yusuf, the second Almohad caliph of al-Andalus. In 1249 the southernmost region of Algarve is finally reconquered & taken from the hands of the Almohad Moors. In 1255 Lisbon becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal after Coimbra as a result of the city’s growing importance and population growth.

The city’s progress would make it a prime target for Christian raids in the first days of the Reconquista, first in 796  by King Alfonso II of Asturias, then in 851 by Ordoño I of Asturias, who both managed to sack the city, which remained however under Muslim rule. In between, two different Viking raids, one in 844 & the other in 966 were successfully repulsed by the city’s Arabic, Moorish, Arabized Muslim & Hispano-Roman, Christian population.

After the collapse of the Emirate of Cordoba in 1031 mainly as a result of political infighting, the region is divided into smaller successor states, the so called taifas. Lisbon is initially part of the Taifa of Badajoz & then forms a Taifa of its own. situation in the Northern Iberian Peninsula around 1065.:

The Crusades of the 11th Century gave vent to the religious & political motivation for the Christian re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, a dream of all Christians since the first successful battles of the Visigoth noblemen that led to the formation of the first Kingdom of Asturias in the North of Spain & the recognition of Alfonso II (791-842) as a king by both Charlemagne & the Pope. The County of Portugal was formed after the successive re-conquests of Portucale (Porto) & Coimbra from the Moors until 1064 & their inclusion in the wider Kingdom of Galicia. However it wasn’t until Alfonso Henriques (Alfonso I, the Conqueror) defeated the Moors in the Battle of Ourique in 1139 that Portugal’s independence was recognized by the King of Leon in 1143. Conqueror) statue in LisbonSculpture of Alfonso Henriquez in Lisbon's Martim Moniz underground station,_Portugal_(4632873161).jpg

The city quickly adopted Roman ways along every aspect of its life with a Roman theater & Roman baths, temples to the Emperor & the Roman Gods, a forum & a necropolis, built in the course of the years just before & during the 1st & 2nd century. Due to the advantageous position of its port, Felicitas Julia became a center of trade between the Roman provinces of Britannia & the Rhine and the towns from the province of Lusitania, the capital Emerita Augusta & rest of the inland cities which saw Felicitas Julia as a commercial gateway to the rest of the world.

Famous across the Roman Empire for its highly prized fish sauce, its wine & salt as well as horse breeding, the city attracted a minority of Greek traders who resided along with the majority of Latin speakers. The population rose above 30,000 (1st century AD). The city was ruled by an oligarchy of two dominant families subordinate to the Roman governor of the capital Emerita Augusta & of course the Emperor . As in most cities of the Empire Christianity quickly gained the support of simple people who saw a glimmer of hope in the new religion but had to conceal their faith in order to spare themselves the consequences of being seen as a troublemaker. As in most cities of the empire in the beginning that ultimately led to the sacrifice of several martyrs who paved the way for final acceptance of their religion and the designation of the first Christian bishop in 356 AD. Right when Christianity started to gain ground, the Western part of the Roman Empire was taking the path of disintegration. The Germanic tribes would come to fill the power gap. Their descent from central Europe reached the shores of Lusitania in the beginning of the 5th century with the Vandals succeeding the Alans (not Germanic) before they were taken over by the Visigoths in 419 AD. Then came the Suebi who established the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia with Bracara Augusta (Braga) being the capital.

Kingdom of the Alans in Hispania (409–426 AD).Kingdom of the Suebi Regnum Suevorum 409–585

The Suebi had to give in to the greater military prowess of the Visigoths who in 469 took the capital Emerita Augusta and by the year 500 AD had consolidated their dominance in the greatest part of Hispania. By 585 the Suebic Kingdom was completely annexed by the Visigoth Kingdom which ruled the whole Iberian Peninsula but a narrow piece of the land  along the coast of Southern Spain which belonged to the Byzantines after a campaign by Emperor Justinian that took place around 550 AD and managed to secure these territories for almost a century for the Eastern Roman Empire. By 625 AD the Visigoths were the sole rulers of Hispania after defeating the Byzantines & finally subduing the Basques & the Asturians. The Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo included Lisbon which was now renamed as Ulishbona.

Under Euric (466–84), the Visigoths began expanding in Gaul and consolidating their presence in the Iberian peninsula. Euric fought a series of wars with the Suebi who retained some influence in Lusitania, and brought most of this region under Visigothic power, taking Emerita Augusta (Mérida) in 469. Euric also attacked the Western Roman Empire, capturing Hispania Tarraconensis in 472, the last bastion of Roman rule in Spain. showing the conquests of Leovigild, circa 586

In 711 AD, an army of Muslim Berbers, ordered by the Umayyad Caliph, crosses Gibraltar & defeats the betrayed by his army Visigoth King in a battle near Cadiz. Most of the cities surrender without much resistance & by 716 most of the Peninsula is under Islamic rule. The city was now at the westernmost edge of the Umayyad Caliphate that had its capital in Damascus Syria & was the largest empire the world had ever seen until then.

The Muslims rebuilt the city wall (Cerca Moura), they built  a castle at the top of the hill (which would later become the Castelo de Sao Jorge), they construct an Alcázar (a Moorish palace) for the city governor, mosques and new houses, while in the same time they impose Arabic as the official language & Islam as the official religion. The city’s diverse population was consisted of Christians, Berbers, Arabs & Jews who were free to practice their own religion in return for extra taxes that were of course not forced on Muslims.

Rua Norberto de Araújo – Cerca Moura,_S%C3%A3o_Jorge_Castle,_lisbon.jpg

In 756 AD Abd-ar-Rahman I a survivor of the overthrown & massacred Umayyad royal dynasty, flees in Southern Iberia  & proclaims its independence from the Abbasid (new dynasty) Caliphate. The various local fiefdoms are united under Abd-ar-Rahman I who after being on the run for six years, manages to defeat the existing Islamic rulers of the Iberian Peninsula & unite Al-Andalus, establishing his Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba after a series of battles between 750 & 775 AD.  Al-Ushbuna (Lisbon) which had been reduced to little more than a village by the beginning of the 8th century was revitalized with the power of commerce mainly between the territories along the Tagus and the Arabic Mediterranean that spanned from Morocco to modern day Turkey.

Extent of Muslim territories in comparison with the Byzantine ones between 7th & 11th century

During the Neolithic Era various Iberian tribes that also inhabited other regions of the peninsula were among the first to settle to the area of modern day Lisbon. Evidence of their passage lie on the religious monuments they left behind such as menhirs & megaliths in the countryside around the city. After 1000 BC the migrating Celts had reached the area. A new line of tribes was formed after their presence was established and co-existence with the pre-Indo-European population started to merge the two people. The occurring Celtic speaking tribes established their first fortifications on Lisbon’s hilltop, a stronghold that went on to have commercial relations with the Phoenicians who were also present in the Iberian Peninsula since 1200 BC. Some historians believe that Phoenicians were the first settlers of what is today the center of the city, naming the place “delightful harbor” in their own language ‘’Allis Ubbo’’. The dominant theory today classifies the people in that area as prior to Phoenicians specifically the Turdetani or Turduli (a Celtiberian tribe). According to that widely accepted today theory the name of the city occurred from the pre-Roman name of the Tagus river which was Lisso. and Linguistic Map of the Iberian Peninsula at about 200 BC

The sheltered harbor at River Tagus’ outfall was an ideal port for commercial trade with inland tribes & travelling ships of the Phoenicians heading to the British Isles. The first references of Greek & Roman geographers refer to the town as ‘’Olissipo’’. After the defeats of Hannibal & the Carthaginians by the Roman general Scipio Africanus & the Carthaginian retreat from the Iberian Peninsula after 200 BC the Romans progressively established their dominance in the wider region. of the Roman conquest of Hispania, from the beginning of the Second Punic War (219 BC) until the beginning of the Cantabrian Wars (29 BC). It contains simplified territorial conquests, the original division between the provinces of Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior and location of the main pre-Roman peoples

Initially fighting on the side of the Carthaginians against the Romans along with several other tribes of the Iberian Peninsula, the people of the small coastal town re-surface in historical references during the series of wars waged by the Romans against the Lusitani (neighboring tribe to the north) between 155 & 139 BC. In 138 BC the Roman general in charge secures the alliance of Olissipo which offers its men to help the Romans against the other tribes of the area. The Roman general fortifies the city primarily against Lusitanian raids, integrating it into the Empire & continues campaigning to the north.

Map of the Roman conquest of the northern territiories of Spain inhabited by the Cantabri and the Astures. Based on classical sources (Florus, Orosius) Augustus campaign in yellow commences from the Lusitanian coastMap of the Roman Hispania around 10 AD, Westernmost city on the Roman map is the city of Olisipo inside the colored in orange province of Lusitania

The battles between the Romans & the tribes continued until the armies of Emperor Augustus finally subdued the whole region between 28-24 BC, which would henceforth be known as Lusitania. His colony Emerita Augusta (Merida today) would serve as the capital of the Roman province. The Romans renamed Olissipo as Felicitas Julia Olisipo acknowledging it as a Municipium (Roman city), giving its citizens the privilege of Roman citizenship, an exemption from taxes & a self rule in an area of more than 50 km.

The Royal Family was in their Quinta de Belém, when the earthquake of 1755 occurred. The panic that then gripped D. José I led to his refusal to return to inhabit buildings built “in stone and lime”. The solution found for the construction of the new royal house involved choosing a safe place. The Quinta de Cima located on the top of the Ajuda hill was then chosen for The Royal Palace of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda to be built by D. José I (1714-1777). This building built in wood to better resist earthquakes, became known as Paço de Madeira or Real Barraca. It replaced the sumptuous Paço da Ribeira that had been destroyed in the earthquake that devastated Lisbon in November 1755.

The new Paço, habitable since 1761, became the residence of the Court for about three decades. In 1794, during the reign of D. Maria I (1734-1816), a fire completely destroyed this royal house and a large part of its valuable contents. Manuel Caetano de Sousa, Architect of Public Works, was tasked with designing a new palace of stone and lime, which was designed in accordance with the architectural trends of the Baroque style. This project, begun in 1796 under the regency of the royal prince D. João, was suspended after five years of construction, when, in 1802, Francisco Xavier Fabri and José da Costa e Silva, architects trained in Italy, were commissioned to adapt it to the new neoclassical current. This task, which was later continued by António Francisco Rosa, responsible for the “reduction” layout of the project, was never fully accomplished.ácio Nacional da Ajuda

It was with the accession to the throne of D. Luís I (1838-1889), that a new stage began, finally acquiring the true dimension of a royal palace by being chosen as the official residence of the court . From 1861 onwards, indispensable works were carried out on the structure of the building to accommodate the new monarch. The real changes in interior decoration began in 1862, the year of the king’s marriage to the Princess of Savoy, D. Maria Pia (1847-1911). A long work of reformulation was then started, which extended to several levels: from the walls to the ceilings – lined, plastered or repainted – to the floor covering with parquet and carpets, to the choice of furniture for the rooms. All ordered from specialized houses, Portuguese or foreign, suppliers of Casa Real. Wedding gifts and goods brought from Italy by the Queen helped to decorate the renovated apartments.

In 1910, when the Republic was inaugurated and the Royal Family was subsequently exiled, the Palace was closed. After a period of visits with restricted access, from 1940 to 1968, made only to those who obtained an “authorization card to visit the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda”, issued by the General Directorate of Public Finance, it opened to the public on 20 August 1968, revealing the environments and collections of a Royal House from the end of the 19th century. Since 1996, this royal residence has been reconstructed as closely as possible, and several rooms have been restored based on rigorous historical research. In 2007, the Palace, together with the other national palaces, became part of the set of properties protected by the Institute of Museums and Conservation. In addition to constituting one of the most important decorative arts museum institutions in the country, the Ajuda National Palace is, even today, the scene of protocol ceremonies for the representation of the State.

The Ajuda National Palace includes important collections of decorative arts dating from the 15th to the 20th century. The 18th and 19th century centers are worth mentioning: jewellery, jewellery, textiles, furniture, glass and ceramics, as well as the painting, engraving, sculpture and photography collections.
In order to maintain the authenticity of the Palace rooms, and also for security reasons, many of the pieces that make up the collections are not exposed to the public. For this reason, it is part of the Palace’s program to promote temporary exhibitions where the pieces kept in reserve are shown. More

With five exhibitions currently on view (two permanents, two temporaries and one project), Museu Coleção Berardo is a space of reference in Lisbon, where the visitor can enjoy the best of modern and contemporary art. Hosting the Berardo Collection, the Museum presents the most significant artistic movements from the twentieth century to the present day.

In this museum, it is possible to find works by artists from the most diverse cultural contexts and with the most varied forms of expression, all of whom would come to make up the art history of the last century. Names such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Vieira da Silva, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd and Bruce Nauman, among many others, are presented within the framework of the artistic movements which their works allowed to define through a chronological succession that enables the spectator to take a trip through the period in question. The Educational Department of the Museum offers a programme designed for an audience aged 2 and upwards, with activities that promote the contact with art from an early age, up through schoolchildren to families and adults, and in this way it aims to stimulate and encourage life-long learning. Guided tours are available as well as other activities.

The scale of the collection is so extensive that its impossible not to spend a bit of time here. It is also hard not to have your mind blown away by the whole experience, especially if you’re not a fanatic of modern art. If this is the case then be also prepared to become one after your visit. Stunning pieces of art from the best painters and sculptors of the modern world.