Published on January 19, 2010 | by Francy0
Five things not to miss in Lisbon
The tram 28, the Ascensor de Santa Justa, the Tower of Belem, the São Jorge Castle and the nightlife: these are the five things not to miss in Lisbon.
1. The tram 28
In Lisbon, the best way to visit the city is the tram. If you are lucky you can still take the historical and a bit ancient trams, and still see many young people taking on the fly a ride clinging to the handrails and remaining ready to go without paying the ticket. The most famous tram of Lisbon is the number 28, that climbs like a roller coaster on the most picturesque streets of the historic centre of Lisbon. For 1.20 euros it is possible to take a ride of one hour through all the most beautiful areas of the city, through the neighborhoods of Baxia, Alfama and Chiado up to the terminus of Martin Moniz. The tram 28 passes near the São Jorge Castle, the Miradouro of Santa Luzia, the Church of St. Anthony, and in all places that could subsequently be viewed with much more confidence and on foot.
2. Ascensor de Santa Justa
Lisbon, like Rome, is built on seven hills, where it is possible to access by towers inside of which run lift elevators, which allow to avoid long treks in order to reach the top, where there are fantastic views over the capital. The Elevador de Santa Justa, also known as Elevador do Carmo, was opened in 1902: it is a huge metal structure in the district of Baixa, in the Old Town, designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, which had previously worked with the French architect Gustave Eiffel. The lift allow to reach the Chiado district, opposite the ruins of the Church of Carmo.
3. The Tower of Belèm
On the banks of the Tagus River, stands the majestic Tower of Belem, a lighthouse/fortress built in 1500 by Manuel I (who gave birth to a true architectural style, the Manuelito) to celebrate the discovery of the route to India by Vasco de Gama. The tower rises in the namesake neighborhood, where there are other monuments in Manuelito style, as the Padrao do Doscombrimentos, shaped like a bow of a ship, also built to celebrate the geographical discoveries of the Portuguese navigators. The tower was designed by Francisco de Arreda and was used, as well as to bombard the pirates who stormed those parts, even to collect tolls from the vessels directed to the old port city.
4. São Jorge Castle
The castle, one of the main monuments of the city, situated on a hill of 110 meters, dominate the city offering tourists a unique panoramic view. The São Jorge Castle is located in the Alfama district and was built in the fifth century, even if during the ages it has been renovated several times: the terrible earthquake of 1755, which nearly destroyed the city of Lisbon, demolished in one blow the imposing surrounding walls of the castle which was later rebuilt. The major interventions are quite recent, around the second half of 1900, when the government was held up by the conservative statesman Salazar: these renovations marked the rebirth of the city.
5. Nightlife in Lisbon
The district of the nightlife in Lisbon is Bairro Alto, but also along the banks of the Tagus River, there are places where it is possible to pull morning. The Portuguese capital’s trendiest nightclub is the Frágil in Rua da Atalaia, but also the Café dos Teatros, in Rua Antonio Maria Cardoso, is in suggestive by the fact that it is frequented by theater people, so fashionable and high-spirited by definition. A particular club is the Indochina, in Rua da Cintura Do Porto, with rock and Latin American music. Other interesting areas where it is possible to be late are: the Avenida 24 de Julho and the Alcântara district, near the 25 April Bridge. The area where it is still easier to listen the Fado, the traditional Portuguese music, and where to find local taverns, is the Barrio Alto.
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Photo of the tram 28 by AleBonvini